Matthieu Blazy declared last season’s collection the end of his Italian trilogy. Something new was in store for spring 2024, and the first clue came as part of the show invitation. Inside a brown cardboard box was a compass on a leather strap, with a map of the world on its face underneath the needles. We were going on a trip.

Though the first model wore an old fashioned one-piece bathing suit and carried a large “straw” bag made from leather intrecciato, this wasn’t a destination collection in the way that fashion knows them. We weren’t seaside at some Italian resort town. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Blazy put it this way backstage: “The idea was blending worlds. We took inspiration literally from all around the world: South America, Southeast Asia, Russia, Brittany, Sicily… we tried to blend them to create some kind of new culture.”

It’s a generous, expansive instinct on Blazy’s part, especially considering the many Milanese brands that are busy looking inward at the moment, refreshing their own codes, and even resurrecting specific collections from the pre-internet days before 2000. Bottega Veneta doesn’t have the ready-to-wear history that some of its Italian peers do. If that gives Blazy a certain kind of freedom, he made the most of it here, walking away from the codes he’s established during his own short tenure here, sidelining his faded jeans, tank tops, and flannel shirts, all actually made from leather, in favor of more adventurous pieces.

Like the leather wrap poncho topping a leather trench. Like a shaggy salt-and-pepper coat. Like the crocheted raffia dresses with the giant pompom embellishments. At least that’s what I assume they were all made from. This was one instance when you really wanted a run-of-show listing the garments’ textile information and the techniques employed to create them, like a map legend.

Getting philosophical, Blazy said, “it’s about what you can become after this journey as well; everything you get from a journey transforms you.” With international calls to end the extraction and use of fossil fuels, including a march in New York City last weekend that drew upwards of 50,000 protestors, global air travel will only get more fraught in the future, and yet we’re all compelled to go somewhere, like the soundtrack said. The earth, after all, is so rich with natural wonders. Some of them turned up in the designs, like a yellow eyelet sundress with the delicate straps strung with natural pearls; others he recreated, like the sandals whose strappy leather was made to look like banana leaves.

Blazy believes in the transportive possibilities of fashion. Wear those “banana leaf” sandals or carry the bag and “you escape.” But you can extract the backstory, and this was still an extraordinary collection, more like couture than ready-to-wear when it comes to the craftsmanship that went into individual pieces, from the cowl neck top and “bias-cut” skirt made from strips of different colored leather to the chunky woven jacquard coat that read almost like fur. “Where people call craft dusty, I think it’s the opposite,” said Blazy. “It’s a world of possibilities.” Agreed.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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