Matthieu Blazy’s Winter 2023 collection marks the culmination of his “Italia Trilogy”, where he skilfully weaves together the past, present and future of Italian culture, heritage and art.
Dramatic instrumental and indistinct chatter permeated the room as a model made her way down the runway in the first look of Matthieu Blazy’s Winter 2023 collection for Bottega Veneta. This setting, decorated with a cast of Italian sculptures and design artefacts, was intentional, pointing back to the concept of his “Italia Trilogy”, a trilogy of shows in tribute to the country.
“I loved the idea of the parade in Italy; a procession, a strange carnival, a crowd of people from anywhere and everywhere and yet somehow, they all fit and go in the same direction,” Blazy says in the press notes. “I wanted to look at what makes people gather together in a place without hierarchy, where everyone is invited.” The collection follows this notion, taking inspiration from the randomness of a parade, the alchemy of the street. “Who will you meet? What is around the corner? Who will amaze you? It is the surprise of the encounter that has importance,” he elaborates.
Additionally, with this being the finale of his “Italia Trilogy”, Blazy continued to celebrate and conflate the past, present and future of Italy with craft in motion, a principle integral to the Creative Director. Here, the techniques, motifs, characters and creatures from the past travel through space and time to speak to the present and future. A cacophony of influences, both animate and inanimate, becomes a polyphony.
“Each has its place and is part of the proceedings: from ancient Roman bronze runners (1BC); to Boccioni’s Futurist ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space’ (1913); to today’s collection for Winter 2023 that at times draws from both the mythology of antiquity and Futurism’s shape of things to come – quite literally in the cutting of ‘Boccioni’ silhouettes, present from Blazy’s foundation collection and expanded upon here,” Bottega Veneta states.
A nod to the past is quite literal here as well, with characters from the first shows making an appearance on the runway. “The odyssey of the cast continues, and yet they are now character archetypes in transformation, mutable and moving, travelling from the ordinary to the extraordinary,” the brand adds. New personas, characters of the parade, “priests and playboys, sleepwalkers and streetwalkers with sirens of the screen and the ancient seas” come to life through silhouettes and textures of the collection.
While the 81 looks are distinctively different in personality, all of these archetypes are cohesive in their design code – minimalistic albeit rich in complexity. Blazy’s designs transcend the ordinary, embracing a fantastical exploration of mythology. Each look also explores the idea of “getting changed” and how we get ready in the morning.
The collection and show unfolded like a game of Exquisite Corpse, with unexpected and chimerical creatures emerging through artful cuts and masterful craftsmanship. Notably, the series showcases the ingenuity of textile innovation; splicing of codes of volume and technique, shaggy fil coupé jacquards, and the Intreccio take the form of a new kind of skin, becoming cascading scales and feathers, finding new configurations in clothing and leather goods. Murano glass gains added malleability as a medium, clutched by these new creatures when applied as the translucent handles of Sardine bags.
This collection heralds the beginning of a new mythology, signalling the end of one part of the Bottega Veneta story and the start of another.
(Images: Matthieu Blazy for Bottega Veneta Winter 2023)