Who Is Matthieu Blazy, Bottega Veneta’s New Creative Director?

Following Daniel Lee’s abrupt departure from Bottega Veneta in the middle of a successful turnaround, owner Kering has moved quickly to name a successor, designer Matthieu Blazy — a respected behind-the-scenes figure who was already waiting in the wings.

Blazy, a former Raf Simons deputy who joined Bottega Veneta in the role of design director last year, will become creative director of the house effective immediately, owner Kering said in a statement Monday.

Blazy worked under Simons at his namesake brand and at Calvin Klein, in addition to working under Phoebe Philo at Celine. He also previously served as the designer of Maison Margiela’s “Artisanal” couture line.

While he remains unknown to consumers, Blazy has built a reputation among fashion insiders during those key roles. His identity was kept secret during his years at Maison Martin Margiela as the house attempted to maintain the anonymous positioning in the wake of its founder’s departure, until being unmasked in an article by critic Suzy Menkes.

The quick appointment points to a desire by Bottega and its corporate parent, Kering, to show consumers and investors that there would be continuity at the brand despite Lee’s surprise departure. Bottega’s comparable revenue rose 2.2 percent in 2019, then managed to accelerate last year despite the coronavirus pandemic hammering luxury sales. Last week, Kering’s stock dipped when Lee’s exit was announced, though it quickly recovered.

While Kering’s bold revamp of Gucci under designer Alessandro Michele and chief executive Marco Bizzari since 2016 has won the group a reputation for supporting radical aesthetic overhauls, the company has also shown it can keep the momentum going through evolution rather than revolution following a designer change: Since Hedi Slimane’s 2016 departure from Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello has transitioned to a more feminine, sexed-up exploration of the brand’s archives while mostly sticking to his predecessor’s monochrome marketing template.

Kering could opt for similar tactics at Bottega Veneta. In addition to having already been onboarded at the brand, Blazy’s references could have significant overlap with Lee’s after similar experiences including two years working together under Phoebe Philo at Celine. He’s not the only former Simons deputy to find himself atop a storied brand: Pieter Mulier became creative director of Paris-based Alaïa this year.

Lee’s departure, announced last week, came as the fashion industry had broadly embraced his tactile, sensual update of the brand.

Since 2018, Lee had worked to refresh Bottega Veneta’s line-up of recognizable signatures while retaining its logo-free positioning: ultra-soft clutches, square-toed pumps and a lurid, special-effects-screen green repopulated the brand’s vocabulary, as well as a push to play with the texture and proportions of the classic Intrecciato.

“The very solid foundations, specific codes and unique identity of Bottega Veneta enable us to nurture great ambitions for the future of this luxury house,” Kering’s chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault said in a statement. “I am confident that Matthieu Blazy’s wealth of experience and broad cultural background will allow him to bring his creative impetus to the task of carrying on the legacy of Bottega Veneta.”

Learn More:

Daniel Lee Exits Bottega Veneta, Leaving Few Clues For What’s Next

Unmasking Matthieu Blazy at Margiela