Bottega Veneta Creative Director Daniel Lee first visited Detroit six years ago. Since then, captivated by the city’s technical and creative innovations like its techno history, the North England-born fashion designer has wanted to partner creatively with Detroiters. That desire has finally came to fruition.
After years of envisioning what collaboration in the city could look like, Lee brought Detroit’s Michigan Theatre to life last night when he presented the Italian luxury fashion brand’s Salon 03 show in the historic space. Set against the backdrop of the grand venue — which, before being converted into a three-level parking garage in the ’70s, was once home to a vibrant theater — models clad in the brand’s spring/summer 2022 collection walked the brightly lit runway as a soundtrack by Detroit native and eclectic musician Moodymann filled the space.
The event attracted a number of high-profile attendees, including singers Mary J. Blige and Kehlani, actresses Debi Mazar and Sasha Blane, model Slick Woods, and rappers Lil’ Kim, Burna Boy, and Slowthai. Lourdes Leon, daughter of Michigan native Madonna, walked in the show.
Detroit Pistons, including newcomer Cade Cunningham, and Zelooperz, a member of the Danny Brown-led Bruiser Brigade rap collective, were also in attendance. As were local creatives Aki Choklat, chair of Fashion Accessories Design at College for Creative Studies and one of our Hour Detroit’s 2019 Best Dressed metro Detroiters; Rick and Yolanda Williams, the couple behind skincare company Cream Blends and brand development agency Distinct Life, photographer Bre’ann White, singer-songwriter-actor Supercoolwicked, and musician Sterling Toles.
Featuring looks for both men and women, the 55-piece ready-to-wear collection included denim-on-denim outfits, shimmery dresses, tennis-inspired attire, voluminous pants, and oversized parkas woven with metallic yarns. A color palette of white, black, purple, gold, orange, and navy was seen throughout the show. And of course, Bottega Veneta’s green — a bold color that transcends seasons — was also present in various shades of intensity.
Looks were accessorized with shoes that included knit trainers, sling-back pointy pumps, lug sole boots, and a new triangular sandal. The brand presented a bag collection that reimagined classic Bottega Veneta silhouettes with mechanical-inspired metal pieces, and it also showed its signature hoop earrings.
According to Bottega Veneta, the collection was created in the spirit of individualism, industry, and revolution. An innovative and sustainable approach led the design process as the brand’s team used metal thread to shape garments, design details like bio-based rubber beads and shells, and fabrics like recycled nylon and certified organic cottons.
Following the presentation, guests made their way to the lower level of the Michigan Theatre to enjoy drinks and a music and light installation by Detroit techno legend Carl Craig called “Runway.” The experience was inspired by the Michigan Theatre’s history and the techno community’s tradition of reclaiming spaces. An after-party, featuring a DJ set by Moodymann, was held later in the evening at the Magic Stick.
News broke in July that Bottega Veneta would show its spring/summer 2022 presentation in the Motor City. The brand — which in recent years has ditched the traditional fashion week calendar and marketing strategies for more experimental, exclusive traveling presentations — showed Salon 01 in London last October and Salon 02 in Berlin. Attendees were not allowed to take photos at the show or discuss it publicly as the brand kept details of each event under wraps for months. Expectations were that the Detroit show would follow suit.
However, at the Michigan Theatre, guests were welcome to capture images and videos to share on social media. Bottega Veneta also streamed the event online (see below) and broadcast it live in Times Square in New York City.
While the show has wrapped, the brand isn’t through with Detroit yet. Bottega Veneta has launched a pop-up in Corktown called Bottega Firehouse. The retail space, located in the former Engine Co. #8 Firehouse at 1201 Bagley St., was developed with local designers, artists, musicians, and influencers.
Open through Jan. 16, the pop-up includes a record store by Underground Music Academy, a Detroit-based hub dedicated to electronic music education and mentorship; a reading room by Black Art Library founder Asmaa Walton, works by Chris Schanck, an industrial designer based out of Hamtramck, and Aratani Fay, a collaborative design studio in Pontiac; textiles by Substudio, an experimental practice that builds immersive sensory environments; ceramics by the Hamtramck Ceramck artist collective, and printed matter curated by Ruben Cardenas, founder of Siren Hotel-based bookstore B_KS@.
Bottega Veneta’s Salon 03 show and pop-up come on the heels of other exciting fashion news and events in and around the city. This year alone, Gucci has teamed up with Detroit Vs Everybody and national retailers — like Louis Vuitton and Hermès — have opened new stores in the metro area. In late September, Detroit-based fashion brand Deviate showed its spring/summer collection at Recycle Here! And, on Oct. 21, Maison Black, the new online retail destination for Black designers founded by Tori Nichel, a Michigan native now based in New York, hosted a runway show with designers Kevan Hall, A.Potts, Sharryl Cross, and more at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant.
“Detroit offers national brands an opportunity to do something nontraditional and fresh,” Deviate co-founder Cassidy Tucker recently told Hour Detroit’s Rachael Thomas. Bottega Veneta is the latest to take notice — and we don’t think it’ll be the last.
For more information, visit bottegaveneta.com.