Embarking on a Global Escape: Bottega Veneta Unveils Enchanting SS24 Womenswear Collection

After turning the page on his ‘Italian trilogy’ Matthieu Blazy took guests on a whirlwind global tour for SS24. Here’s everything you need to know

Milan Fashion Week SS24 has been the season of little spectacle, but a lot of beautiful clothes, and right now, no one does beautiful clothes with as much care, consideration, and precision as Matthieu Blazy at Bottega Veneta. Last night, the Belgian designer began a new chapter after turning the page on his so-called ‘Italian trilogy’ back in February, taking attendees on a whirlwind global tour without leaving their seats in an unassuming warehouse space on the outskirts of the city. As has become custom now, the Italian powerhouse was a highlight of the season – and so, we’ve rounded up every moment and every detail you need to know about. Here’s what went down at Bottega Veneta SS24.

Bottega Veneta’s shows always attract an offbeat crowd, and this season was no different. On the front row, DJ and producer Peggy Gou rubbed shoulders with legendary porn star, politician, singer, and socialite Ilona Staller [AKA Cicciolina], and were joined by Hollywood icon Julianne Moore, who slipped into a standout leather trompe l’oeil plaid shirt and jeans to take in the runway. Also back were longtime brand stans Kelela, who showed up in a slinky white floor-sweeping gown, and Erykah Badu, who went for a mint green ostrich feather coat and told us the conspiracy theory she is most into is that The Simpsons can predict the future. Head to Dazed’s TikTok to see that.

This season, Blazy was intent on looking beyond Milan, and more broadly Italy, and heading out into the big wide world with his latest collection. And so, the space the show took place in reflected that: on the floor were cute daubing depicting the ice caps – dotted with cartoony painted penguins – and the high seas, under which the sardines that formed the handles of AW23’s standout bags swam. “An Odyssey: a journey that is both free and hopeful. A connection to who you once were, who you would like to be, and where you want to go,” wrote the designer in his show notes. “The odyssey is both external and internal, physical and through the imagination. It is a journey of transformation and escape.”

The show started out subtle and simple enough: first out of the gate was an understated all-black one-piece which looked like a Victorian swimming costume, closely followed by two impeccably cut suits. But soon after, a model in a white t-shirt and knickers appeared, massive straw bag stuffed with belongings clasped in hand, like she’d just served her boss her notice and headed straight for the beach.

Boys in yuppy-ish looks comprising shirts and ties, butter-soft leather briefcases, and roomy camel overcoats alluded to the kind of wanderlust that hits on the long, packed commute to work, staring out of the window at the grey cityscape speeding by and dreaming of global adventure. And it wasn’t long before that adventure arrived, as the offering exploded into a cacophony of colours, textures, and global influences.

Leaving the drudgery of the office behind and escaping out into the wider world, the collection came alive through Blazy’s deft eye for detail and texture, as seen in knit dresses with wiggly seams and stitching that unravelled into long, rough-hewn tassels that swirled around models’ legs as they walked. Luxe leather was seemingly haphazardly tucked and folded, transformed into boxy, broad-shouldered tops and pencil skirts, and bustier dresses in the kind of red hues dotted across tropical fish and the backs of poison dart frogs. Blazy continued to play with proportion, sending fringed leather mini dresses and skirts down the catwalk alongside big, blown-up croco-embossed duffel bags and XXL totes, while asymmetric column gowns in boisterous, abstract prints called to mind the tactile insides of a seashell or geode scooped out of the sand.

The stellar finale, however, was the bit that drew gasps from the notoriously hard to please fashion crowd: bouncing down the runway came two knit dresses dotted with massive fuzzy pom-poms. Each one looked like a fishing net in which a bunch of sea anemones had been caught, their tentacles undulating sensually in the current, with both emblematic of Blazy’s inimitable aptitude for creating clothes that illicit sheer, unadulterated joy and wonder, just begging to be touched.