MILAN, Italy — Next week, Tomas Maier will finally move into the house he has been building in Maine. It’s his dream home: remote from his professional life, and a gateway to the outdoorsy life he loves. Maier may even take up sailing. The collection he showed for Bottega Veneta on Saturday morning was certainly a start.
He claimed an old sail he found in a vintage shop inspired it. Its construction, stitching and grommeting were echoed in the billowing volumes and details of the cotton dresses that appeared throughout the show. Liya Kebede’s poplin-gown unzipped all the way down the back, from neck to hem. And that, for anyone who ever wondered, is how to give a vintage sail sex appeal.
Maier gave performance wear another spin with his mutation of the tracksuit, top and pants in a technical fleece printed with a pattern that could best be described as rococo camo. He emphasised the physicality by lining the hood in leopard print. The same print was also attached to a leather skirt washed to a worn-out fade, and paired with a crocheted top shot with stripes of lurex. It also appeared on a body suit, under a shearling fuzzed up with a big Mongolian lamb collar.
The big cat — and Steve Mackey’s aural cue (Sly & Robbie’s “Boops”) — gave the collection a raw-edged vibrancy, with bags and footwear to match. Those big sail dresses, for instance, were decorated with diagonal fragments of crochet and beading, seemingly random, but slyly accentuating the body. Even the intricate patching of snakeskin into a stunning red jacket had a primal edge. It’s what Maier has always done best: supreme sophistication shot through with steam heat.