They always say the richest people dress in the most wayward way. Those who've never gone without - the true aristocracy - wear hand-me-downs from their father, age-old knits with holes, battered cords that have begun to sag at the knees and mis-matched suits. Convention says that it's those with 'new money' that like things box-fresh, shiny, crisp and perfect. It's apt then that Tomas Maier, Creative Director of Bottega Veneta, a brand that's for those who have serious spending power, is over 'meticulous dressing, everything matching or looking brand new.' For A/W he wanted things to look deliberately disheveled - checked boxers peaked out over the waistband of trousers, while formal elements were seemingly thrown together with casual pieces. Yet, this had an easy richness; indeed, even the fingerless gloves - a item more likely to be spotted down Dalston than on the runways of a luxury Italian brand - came in cashmere, while cosy woollens came custom-made in various checks, from gingham to herringbone, all while offering the easy swing of a thift-store find.
It's hard to make deliberate eclecticism look effortless; this was busy but not fussy. Indeed in its whimsy came focus and clarity of vision. More became less - wide-ranging fabrics, from shearling and suede to fleece, corduroy and moleskin gelled together seamlessly, while diverse colours, some bright and cheerful (pink, yellow, orange), others rich and autumnal (deep blue, dark grey, rust red) were deliberately clashed.
The collection's narrative told of a wanderer, a adventurer, a bohemian artist, never sure what city he'll be in from one day to the next and not sure what garments he'll need to get him through each day's scrapes and scraps. That explains the collection’s key accessory: overnight bags, rendered in graffiti washed vintage leather. They suggested a man on the move, pulling together clothing combinations without drama or deference to fashion gospel.
This served as a tribute to clothes with life, pieces that have acquired a story and beauty through the places they've been worn, the moulded fit they've assumed and the years they've been a trusty ally in the wardrobe. That's a magic some on-trend piece, plucked from a shop rail, can't offer. It's something that's special and not easy to acquire or fake; if you think about it it's an extension of that idea of ultra-exclusive, non-showy, labelless luxury that Bottega has come to own. The pieces on show today may be new (that's the irony) but they did a good job of capturing that nonchalant spirit contained in clothes that have been loved for years and encapsulated by men who never try too hard when getting dressed. It's a new kind of luxury for Bottega; the luxury of not caring.