With “Men,” Bottega Veneta’s Daniel Lee Reshapes Modern Masculinity
As we wade through the uncharted waters of our newly virtual fashion landscape, the sudden absence of large-scale events has left some industry giants, long reliant on cultivating a carnivale-esque sense spectacle, in a tailspin. Tonight at midnight, Bottega Veneta releases its answer to the disparate chaos of the online fashion space: a new short film simply titled Bottega Veneta: Men.
“In celebration of those who inspire us, we created a short film,” says Daniel Lee, the house’s creative director, “an exploration of identity, masculinity and our relationship with clothing.” Since taking the helm at Bottega in 2018, Lee has garnered something of a cult following for ready-to-wear designs— always modern and lush, always wearable— that are credited with ushering the conservative heritage label into the new millennium with unprecedented success.
Despite the ease with which the house has navigated the virtual landscape under Lee’s guidance in the past, Bottega Veneta: Men signals a desire to dig deeper. The film, available for streaming on this page, is the first created by Lee and his longtime collaborator, the acclaimed photographer Tyrone Lebon. It features a cast of multi-talented artists who inspire them both, including French-British rapper Octavian, Italian dancer Roberto Bolle, and Stockholm-born singer Neneh Cherry.
The short opens with a weighty question, posed by Lebon himself: “In your eyes, what qualities make a man?” The answer is a stunning compendium of meditations on masculinity in its gentlest and most brutal forms. Through spare footage and un-fussy dialogue, Lee and Lebon tease out the experiences through which men of all stripes are honed and polished. In the hands of this cast of artists, Lee’s designs take on a timeless ambiguity: exquisite tailoring contrasts with heavy platform soles, charting a course between the heights of traditional elegance and the essence of underground cool.