After last week’s surprise announcement that Bottega Veneta’s creative director Daniel Lee was stepping down, Matthieu Blazy has been named his successor. Although not widely known outside fashion (much as Mr. Lee when the job was first offered in 2018), he is highly respected within the industry.
Mr. Blazy, whose résumé suggests a cool, craftsmanship-oriented aesthetic, has worked with Mr. Lee as the design director for ready-to-wear collections at Bottega Veneta since 2020. His promotion is immediate and his first collection will be shown in February.
Before he arrived at Bottega, Mr. Blazy, 37, spent three years at Calvin Klein designing men’s and women’s collections under Raf Simons, then its chief creative officer, who called Mr. Blazy a “genius with people” and “ready to lead.”
“He’s a great creative spirit,” Mr. Simons said. “He comes with lots of ideas and willingness to experiment, and that is a source of great motivation for his team.”
Mr. Blazy’s first job in fashion, years before he was at Calvin Klein, was also with Mr. Simons, as a designer for Mr. Simons’s namesake label. It was to broaden his experience when Mr. Blazy moved to Maison Martin Margiela. beyond men’s wear, Mr. Simons said.
Blazy was first noticed by fashion media while working at Margiela. In 2014, he was revealed as the designer of its Artisanal haute couture line — the identities of these designers were typically kept secret — and called, by The Cut, “the most famous designer you’ve never heard of.” (Indeed, virtually no interviews with Mr. Blazy exist online even today.)
The New York Times listed him as a contender for one the most important jobs in fashion the following year. He was a senior Celine designer at the time. Mr. Lee was also there, and Mr. Blazy had gone there to learn more about commercial aspects of the business, according Mr. Simons.
In a statement announcing the Bottega Veneta appointment on Monday, François-Henri Pinault, the chairman and chief executive of Bottega’s parent company, Kering, said that Mr. Blazy’s “wealth of experience and broad cultural background will allow him to bring his creative impetus to the task of carrying on the legacy of Bottega Veneta.” Mr. Blazy is a French and Belgian national who splits time between Antwerp and Milan.
Leo Rongone, the chief executive of Bottega, said that “Matthieu’s appointment will further enhance the modern relevance of our brand and accelerate our growth, while preserving the values” core to the brand.
That “modern relevance” came largely thanks to Mr. Lee, who leaves his stamp on the brand with critically and commercially successful leather accessories, including square-toe shoes and pouch bags and new interpretations of the house’s signature “intrecciato” leather weave.
Kering has been successful in promoting from within rather than hiring a big-name designer for another brand. This strategy was most evident when Kering took over the Gucci creative director role with Alessandro Michele (then the head accessories designer).
Robert Burke, the founder of a luxury consultancy firm in New York, called Mr. Blazy’s appointment “well received in the industry” and said he didn’t expect any “slowing down” in the brand during this period of transition.
“It makes a lot of sense,” Mr. Burke said of Mr. Blazy’s new role. “He clearly has already been immersed within the Bottega brand itself.”
Vanessa Friedman contributed reporting.
Source: NY Times