Tomas Maier is prone to cryptic commentary about his collections for Bottega Veneta. This season, he attributed the pajama look that opened the show to his distaste for the nudity that he sees in contemporary menswear. He wanted to cover up. (With pajamas? Well, I guess bed is where most men are naked.) Fortunately, Maier’s actions were louder than his words. His collection was a master class in desirability and wearability. The quality of timelessness is occasionally evoked in the flibbertigibbet fashion world as a genuine asset, and Maier gets it right just about every time. In this instance, you might say he was trading off the late forties and early fifties—those Bogie-and-Mitchum glory days of confident masculinity—with square-shouldered blazers, full-pleated trousers, and chunky saddle shoes.
Maier clearly understands glamour (if George Hurrell had been waiting to take the mannequins’ photos as they left the catwalk, I wouldn’t have been surprised), but there is nothing retro-heavy about his approach. The lightness of the fabrics and the construction of the clothes see to that. At the same time, there is something slightly tongue-in-cheek about what he is doing, and that’s what added the vital spice to this collection. Hence a matching jacket and shirt combination in red gingham, or a companion version in blue checks with a blue spotted tie. (Maier also offered a jacket, pants, and shirt in the same shade of army brown as a more measured expression of a way to elongate the silhouette.) And at show’s end, when Noah Mills walked out on the catwalk in a white silk-shantung suit with an orchid in his buttonhole, Maier had us at good-bye.
by tim blanks
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