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Modern Sophistication is the Name of Daniel Lee’s Game

By Patrick Chew


With every newly-appointed creative director, our imagination races to conclusions and compels their careers forward. What does this mean for the brand? How will he or she fill the gap left behind by their predecessor? And how will they make their mark? 

Little was known about Daniel Lee when Bottega Veneta announced his appointment as creative director last year. Along with a photo of Lee in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, the statement introduced him as a graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design who went on to work with Phoebe Philo as director of ready-to-wear design at Celine.

That lack of familiarity and information prompted news outlets and fashion publications to ask questions. After all, Lee was tasked to fill the shoes of Tomas Maier who had helmed the brand for 17 years. According to Fashionista, Lee appointment marked “yet another industry shift towards letting more behind-the-scenes designers take the reins for a major luxury house”. Hypebae asked if Bottega Veneta under Lee would be another Celine. 

But Lee simply kept his head down and committed to the slow but necessary grind to make Italian fashion house his own. His first instinct, according to him, “was to clean it all up and get back to what really felt essential.” Lee went on to underline his simple intention for the brand: “to just make some really great clothes, for people to live in and love and really enjoy.”


Earlier this year, Lee unveiled his first collection for the brand. Comprising of quilted skirts, biker jackets and pants, and a geometric V introduced as closures on coats and pockets, Lee’s debut was crisp and confident, and told everyone what they needed to know about the brand going forward. Bottega Veneta under Daniel Lee would be pared down, minimalist, and catered to the modern individual. 

That sentiment is echoed in Bottega Veneta’s newly-refurbished boutique in ION Orchard. Evoking a new sense of openness and modernity, with an interior that is designed around the theme of lightness, the store’s walls are painted bright white or covered in plaster with a Roman travertine texture, and covered with dark ivory limestone and pale carpets.


François-Henri Pinault, chief executive of Kering had previously described Lee as, “not afraid of the heritage.”

In the store is Lee’s Pre-Fall 2019 collection, designed to focus on an elevated reality of dressing. Generous, warm, and kind are words used to describe the collection’s pieces that hug the body — coats tailored to a slender line, and scarf-dresses draped against the figure. Materials are understated: cashmere, silk, wool and leather in neutrals tones and hues of cordovan, espresso, amber, and oxblood.  

It is yet another reflection of Lee’s stirring injection of modern sophistication into what was previously a heritage brand.

Visit the newly refurbished Bottega Veneta boutique at ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, #01-04A.