On Wednesday, Nov. 10, Kering announced that Daniel Lee will be exiting Bottega Veneta and a “new creative organization” of the fashion house will be revealed soon, according to a press release from the luxury conglomerate. Lee joined Bottega Veneta as its creative director in July 2018 and recently presented his latest collection for the brand in Detroit.
“My time at Bottega Veneta has been an incredible experience,” said Lee in an official statement. “I am grateful to have worked with an exceptional and talented team and I am forever thankful to everyone who was part of creating our vision. Thank you to Francois-Henri Pinault for his support, and for the opportunity to be part of Bottega Veneta’s story.”
The sudden split — an apparent joint decision between Lee and the brand — is a surprise, to say the least. Over the past three years, Lee, who joined Bottega Veneta after working for Phoebe Philo at Cèline, completely revamped the luxury label’s design codes, making it relevant, cool, and, most importantly, extremely profitable. Not only did he bring in a more youthful audience and a strong celebrity following (hello, Rihanna), but his accessories are coveted “It” items, from Bottega’s lug-sole boots and mesh or weave sandals to his pillow bags, clutches, and anything covered in Lee’s signature green hue. His designs were so well-received that they’ve been duped to oblivion across the market, from fellow luxury brands to fast fashion retailers.
“I would like to thank Daniel for his dedication to the House over the past three years. He provided Bottega Veneta with a fresh perspective and a new sense of modernity, while remaining respectful of the brand’s fifty-year heritage,” said Leo Rongone, CEO of Bottega Veneta, in an official statement. “The remarkable growth of the brand over the last three years bears testimony to the success of his creative work.”
Added François-Henri Pinault, Chairman & CEO of Kering, “I am very grateful to Daniel for having brought his passion and energy to Bottega Veneta. His singular vision made the House’s heritage relevant for today and put it back to the center of the fashion scene. I would like to personally thank him for the unique chapter that he has written in the long history of Bottega Veneta.”
Over the course of Lee’s tenure, Bottega Veneta has shifted from traditional runway presentation during Milan Fashion Week to low-key, destination-focused “salon” shows, along with completely sweeping the brand’s presence off of social media (Instagram, most importantly) and instead providing exclusive content through regularly released digital magazine issues. With the brand’s anticipated reorganization, there’s a possibility that there won’t be a creative director at all, and instead will partner with public-facing or famous names for collaborations. (It’s also interesting to note that Lee’s exit announcement from Kering was called a “collaboration,” as well.)
As for Lee’s next move, we most likely won’t know where the extremely private designer ends up next for some time. But with his former boss currently planning to start her own namesake brand with rival conglomerate LVMH, perhaps he’ll return to help satisfy the Philophiles again.
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