By now you’ll have heard the news that long-standing Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier is leaving the Italian house – effective immediately. While there has been ongoing speculation that Maier might leave, the announcement did come across as rather abrupt and according to the New York Times’ fashion director Vanessa Friedman, Maier will not even be doing the upcoming Spring/Summer 2019 collection.
The German-born designer has been helming Bottega Veneta for 17 years – practically an eternity in fashion terms, especially given that these days, most creative directors typically stay for approximately three years or less.
Here, we take a look back at his most iconic contributions to Bottega Veneta.
#1: He was responsible for arguably Bottega Veneta’s most iconic bag
The Cabat – a roomy tote bag in the house’s famous Intrecciato (woven) technique, introduced in 2001 by Maier when he first came on board. It’s become a signature of the house ever since, re-appearing in numerous iterations every season. While the current trend of maximalism and in-your-face logos in fashion might mean that discreet designs like the Cabat have taken a backseat, this is one chic number that’ll last beyond of-the-moment fads; it’s the perfect everyday bag.
#2: He resuscitated Bottega Veneta
When luxury conglomerate Kering (parent company to brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga) bought over the label in 2001, it was virtually bankrupt. Under Maier’s direction, the house reaped over a billion in 2012 and at that point in time, was the second most profitable label in Kering’s portfolio behind Gucci. It’s not difficult to see why – Bottega Veneta under Tomas Maier become known for a grown-up brand of chic that was always brilliantly coloured.
#3: He expanded the house’s lexicon
While Bottega Veneta was known primarily (and still is) known for its high-quality leather goods, Maier diversified the brand’s lexicon into womenswear, menswear and home decor that all followed the house’s code for chic, timeless discretion.
#4: He made clothes for adult women (and men)
In an age where youth-driven designs are all the rage, it’s become increasingly rare to find well-executed clothes for women who want to dress their age. Maier designed pieces that were suitable for a wide range of women (though undoubtedly wealthy women) that were modern, subtle yet eye-catching – not an easy combination at all. As a result, he gained many fans, notably Amal Clooney – possibly one of the most modern women today.
He will be missed.