Bottega Venata’s creative director Daniel Lee has unexpectedly departed ways with the Italian fashion house.
The news has come as a big surprise given Lee’s undeniable success at the helm of the brand over the last three years, though the brand’s parent company, Kering, said it was a “joint decision”.
“Bottega Veneta and Daniel Lee are announcing their joint decision to end their collaboration. He brought new energy to the house and greatly contributed to the new momentum that Bottega Veneta is enjoying today,” the statement read.
Lee’s work for the iconic label cannot be overstated. As affirmed by its official statement, his designs brought new life to the label, with many in the industry labelling his work as a “revival”.
His most notable features included the now-iconic square-toed woven heel, which has subsequently become a common street style staple—its design remains synonymous with the brand.
Lee’s soft pillowy clutches also put the brand back on the street style map.
The 35-year-old joined the label in July 2018, and he made his debut for the brand with his fall 2019 collection.
By December 2019 Lee had already cemented his success within the label, taking home a record four prizes at the British Fashion Awards. These included designer of the year and brand of the year.
Lee also made several disruptive moves in recent months. In February 2021, he was behind the deletion of Bottega Veneta’s official Instagram account in order to “lean much more on its ambassadors… by letting them speak for the brand rather than doing it itself”.
He also revolutionised the way he presented the brand’s fashion shows, adopting a travelling concept where he presented its collections to local audiences off the usual fashion week calendar.
In his own statement following the news of his departure, Lee said: “My time at Bottega Veneta has been an incredible experience. 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.”
CEO of Bottega Veneta, Leo Rongone added in a statement that “a new creative direction” for the brand will be announced soon.
While nothing has been publicly announced as to why Lee left the label, one does wonder what he might do next—could he be starting his own label? Or is he even returning to work with his former Celine boss Phoebe Philo, whose label launch is one of the most anticipated events on the 2022 fashion calendar? Time will tell, but we’ll be watching closely.