Maier leaves Bottega Veneta
Text Carlo Mazzoni
Tomas Maier left Bottega Veneta. In recent times on the sly, only five years ago Bottega Veneta designed by Maier represented what good can be told about fashion.
Maier is the son of an architect, he grew up observing his father’s passion for the Bauhaus and Mies van der Rohe – and it was precisely from the skyscrapers of Mies van der Rohe that the models photographed by Robert Longo fell in flight, no longer for the blows of gun of that exhibition Men in the cities in 1979 (as if by magic, now, Men in the cities rhymes with Mies van der Rohe). The space enclosed by Tomas Maier is the pneumatic vacuum of Palladio. Visiting the Rotunda, we see how the cross in the circle, the intersections of the squares, the columns, the lodges and the front walls, the Ionian pronaos, the stairways expand violently from a single central hall.
The essence of architecture must be focused for a moment. We are accustomed to understand it with floor plans, facades, sections for external walls, vertical or horizontal ones – this habit has led us not to perceive the space. Architecture does not derive from a sum of widths, lengths and heights that enclose the space, but precisely from the void, from the enclosed space. When the volume of this enclosed space, where man penetrates, approaches the volumetry of the human body, a dress is born. Tomas Maier remembered a dress by Yves Saint Laurent – the model walked along the catwalk, it was impossible to understand how she had come into that dress, in that space. Fashion for Bottega Veneta is architecture for fashion.
From Palladio to the Cabat the issue remains the same: it would not be the same if you could understand how they were built. There is never nothing more complicated than simplicity. A Cabat must be worked from a single hand, because two people would not tighten the braid with the same tension. Everyone has already written it: the absence of the logo is the firm certainty that a bag can be recognised for its manufacture. So the refusal to produce an Itbag – or the rejection of those marketing and communication mechanisms that build an Itbag (photos with actresses, the screenplay of a TV series, scheduled waiting lists). The best way to create an Itbag is not to create it – more or less the same issue as before – it is not about walls, lengths and heights without a soul, but about the void around which the rest is built. The functionality. The relationship between aesthetics and function – Tomas Maier made it a precise example. In the morning, with one hand he held the newspaper, with the other he raised the coffee cup – putting the cup back on the small plate, the spoon had slipped towards the centre of the base, the cup could no longer find its equilibrium, it overturned – and you have to put down the paper, make up for the disaster and stop one of the pleasant moments of the day. The fault is of those who had designed and created the plate for that cup, badly designed because the spoon did not remain in its place but slipped in the centre of the base.
The braided, the Cabat, the Meta armchair. Monica Vitti by Antonioni, the chrome pipes of a Miami plant. Balenciaga and Madame Grès. Alex Prager. Chinese viscoses to be laser cut. That touch of gothic picked up by Giovanni Bellini’s gold foils – those butterflies, miniatures, petals and liquid inks. The material colours, the white of the rice, the rose and the dark cocoa, the pearl grey. The symmetry of the name with the surname, Tomas Maier, eliminating the “h” of Thomas. I have already written, and I am increasingly convinced, that sobriety – the sobriety so fashionable today – has nothing to do with understatement. Sobriety is the art of knowing how to do exactly what you want to do, knowing exactly what you want to say.