“Post-Phoebe’s-departure-from-Celine-trauma” is the ailment that spurred 20-year-old Laura Rossi, a fashion design student at Polimoda in Florence, to create @newbottega. Described as a “digital archive dedicated to the work of British fashion designer Daniel Lee,” the Instagram account is a slickly curated amalgamation of runway detail shots, selfies, close-ups of products (especially Lee’s cult square-toed heel, worn by Elsa Hosk for a recent CR editorial) amid sunlit backdrops, and campaign images from a post-Tomas Maier Bottega—or, well, a new Bottega.
Rossi tells CR she started the account a few days after Lee’s runway debut for Fall/Winter 2019 back in February, though she had the idea on her mind when parent company Kering announced his appointment as creative director last summer. “It just felt like the right moment, as it marked a new era in fashion,” she says. “I love keeping up with fashion’s musical chairs, and his appointment sounded very promising—not just to me, but to other fashion fans as well. If his first collection for Pre-Fall 2019 was a hint that we were right, his Fall/Winter 2019 runway show was the final groove. At that point, I just felt that he had to be celebrated.”
Naturally, the luxe, minimalist nature of Lee’s aesthetic has drawn swaths of @oldceline enthusiasts. (The Instagram account was started last year and is a photographic graveyard of sorts from Celine pre-Hedi Slimane.) It makes sense that both accounts would share followers, given Lee’s previous post as Celine’s director of ready-to-wear. But while @oldceline offers a heady dose of clean, feminine nostalgia, @newbottega—which has amassed nearly 20,000 followers—offers what Rossi calls “hope.” Below, CR catches up with her to talk Lee’s vision, why craftsmanship is more important than ever, and how she’s restoring faith in fashion’s future.
What drew you to Daniel Lee’s aesthetic? How do you feel his designs reflect his vision while still respecting the DNA of Bottega Veneta?
“I’m a huge fan of minimalism, and I definitely see that in Daniel’s take. Bottega has always been one of those brands that would rather bloom quietly instead of dragging too much unnecessary attention to them. And while this hasn’t changed, I feel like the collections and the actual design of the products reflect their image as a brand even more now [under his helm].”
Where do you source your images from?
“I often get tagged in photos from influencers and bloggers, and their content is always great because they [are] talented in content creation. But I also post fashion show details, close-ups, and campaigns, so there’s really a lot of content to choose from.”
What’s an interesting thing you’ve noticed since you started the account?
“I think lots of so-called ‘Phoebe Philophiles’ started following me. I mean, Bottega Veneta kind of filled the void that Phoebe Philo left in everyone’s heart since her departure, so it’s definitely very interesting and nice to see how people restored their faith in fashion after her departure and Daniel’s takeover.”
Do you get a lot of feedback from your followers?
“Yes. I have a lot of people sending me images of their recent purchases and people sending me pictures of what they would like to buy and asking me for advice. Of course I can’t help them when it comes to sizing and store availabilities, but, you know, I just do what I can.”
You obviously share a lot of followers with @oldceline. Did you use that account as inspiration to start yours?
“Yes, definitely. I mean, the @oldceline account felt very nostalgic since it popped up, so I definitely thought that people had to have another account that could give them hope at the same time and not just feel sad about the old Celine. We lost the old Celine, and that’s terrible, but now we have the new Bottega. Let’s focus on that.”
Have you heard from Bottega or Daniel? Have they reached out to you?
“I got some very nice messages from some of their sales consultants and I really appreciated that; it’s very nice of them.”
Bottega’s price point seems slightly out of reach for Instagram-obsessed millennials, many of whom are likely following you. What are your thoughts on its lack of widespread accessibility?
“You know, most of my followers are actually in their 30s, so I’m not sure if lots of teenagers or people in their 20s are following me. Of course, there are some, but those are mostly people who work as influencers or are really passionate about fashion just as I am, so they can somehow afford these items or at least just enjoy looking at pictures of them. I don’t think Bottega is overpriced—among all of the luxury brands out there, Bottega is definitely one of those with the best craftsmanship. Of course, when you pay for these brands, you’re paying for the marketing, but in this case, the price is more justified in my opinion.”
Do you personally own any Bottega?
“No, but my mom just bought something. It was very funny to see her come home with a Bottega Veneta bag. I was like, ‘Mom, what did you do?’ And she was like, ‘It’s your fault.’ She follows me and she likes everything.”
Who are some other brands or designers you think are doing really cool stuff right now?
“Definitely The Row. The Olsen sisters are great. And I also really like Jil Sander. You know, those brands are very minimalistic, so they all fall into the same category. But I have, like, a double personality when it comes to my personal taste, so I also have a very dramatic Alexandre Vauthier/Saint Laurent side. I’m torn between both aesthetics.
There’s a lot of talk about the fashion system being broken, oversaturated, and in flux. How do you think Lee is fighting against that current?
“What we are really missing today is timelessness—that effortless sense of exclusivity that you get from a garment just by looking at it, without necessarily having to check the price tag or the name on the logo. I know ‘logomania’ is a thing right now, and I must admit it felt a bit nostalgic at first, but I think creating pieces that scream luxury without actually writing on them is the real-deal, and Bottega is killing the game at the moment.”
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createdAt:Mon, 15 Jul 2019 19:59:49 +0000