Homegrown designers may be exiting New York Fashion Week left and right, but there’s a bright spot in the middle of next month’s calendar. Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier is bringing his women’s and men’s Fall 2018 collections to the city for a one-off show at the American Stock Exchange, timed to the opening of the Italian label’s new Maison at 740 Madison Avenue. At 15,000 square feet, it’s BV’s largest store in the world, housing all of the brand’s divisions including women’s, men’s, accessories, fragrance, and home, plus a unique gallery space showcasing Italian art from the mid-century to today hand-selected by Maier. Shoppers can walk away with one of the monogrammed bags that launched at the women’s show last September and the phone number of the Italian gallery where they can purchase the Lucio Fontana hanging on the wall. In other words, it’s light-years away from the little shop Bottega Veneta opened on Madison Avenue in 1972—ages before other Italian brands set up residence here. “It’s an emotional story for us,” says Maier.
Art and architecture are Maier’s twin passions. The Maison showcases both. Consider that Fontana, or the fact that the multiyear renovation of the store included a complete interior teardown because none of the floor levels corresponded between the three landmarked townhouses that have been joined to create the new space. Art and architecture feature in the brand’s Spring campaign, as well. In a new development for Maier, who has previously made a habit of hiring fine art photographers for the label’s campaigns, this project is digital-first. Six short films have been produced, touching on “brand pillars” including architecture and surrealism, and the still photos you’ll start seeing in February magazines will be pulled from the video clips. “They tell a story about light, about a journey through the day, and starring models Vittoria Ceretti and Janis Ancens, about interaction between people—and obviously, there’s a story of color,” says Maier. “We’re trying to talk to our customers in a different way, in a today’s-world way.” He continues: “At the end of the season you’ll be able to call up certain episodes, just like watching HBO or Netflix. It’s all about time. When you have time, you are receptive.”
Back to the new Maison. Bottega Veneta has installed video screens in the new flagship, but only on the elevators that will shuttle customers between the five floors. It was a detail that Maier insisted upon, along with the double-height windows and furnishings inspired by the famous buildings that surround the store and dot the New York skyline.
Bottega Veneta’s Fall 2018 women’s and men’s show is scheduled for February 9 at 8:00 p.m.