Oddly enough, anyone who still imagine fashion remains willfully oblivious to current events would probably be surprised to learn that Tomas Maier was inspired by 2011's Arab Spring, when he conceived the latest men's collection for Bottega Veneta. The Arab world's pursuit of democracy got him thinking about the integration of different sartorial traditions in a way that was about genuine synthesis, rather than banal ethnic influences. By the time they reached the catwalk, the designer's creative impulses had been well and truly sublimated. A casual overview might suggest that relatively conventional 2-piece tailoring ruled (even if the suits were crumpled). Still, a residue of the Great Elsewhere lingered in the unplaceability of a number of the clothes, neither Middle East nor Midwest, but with an undertow of both. The buttoned-up-tight mandarin-collared jackets and matching pants had a military mien -add sunglasses, a general's cap and some extrakilos, and you'd have yourself a best-dressed
Sacha Baron Cohen dictator (read this). That control was contrasted with a shopping list of fabric treatments : washing, creasing, over-printing, over-dyeing, dip-dyeing. Checks were bleared like they'd been hand-blocked. A tweed was really a printed cotton. Just a fashion illusion, but here it poked as much as it pleased. Surface was treated extravagantly, enhanced and amplified with prints layered over prints, geometric patterns fused together, and materials mixed, patched or cut apart and reformed. "I’ve always liked the idea of a coverall or a jumpsuit, of a single piece of clothing that works for a man the way a dress does for a woman", explaineds Tomas Maier. "But a tailored jumpsuit is impractical. So we started with the idea of an all-in-one and related it to the suit. It’s a different kind of suit, derived from thinking about dressing in a different way". He never really lets go. Even the peculiar denim and leather breakout he allowed himself was pinpoint-precise. Are BV men thinking of the Printemps Arabe when shopping this ? Unlikely. But Tomas Maier's abstract inspiration actually did yield a hint of out of control that his customers may find refreshing. Indeed.