After the surprise announcement last week that the Bottega Veneta creative director Daniel Lee was leaving the Italian luxury house, a successor has been named: Matthieu Blazy, who may not be widely known outside of fashion (much like Mr. Lee when he took on the job in 2018) but is well regarded within the industry.
Mr. Blazy, whose résumé suggests a cool, craftsmanship-oriented aesthetic, has worked with Mr. Lee as the design director for ready-to-wear collections at Bottega Veneta since 2020. His promotion is effective immediately, and his first collection will be presented in February.
Before he arrived at Bottega, Mr. Blazy, 37, spent three years at Calvin Klein designing men’s and women’s collections under Raf Simons, then its chief creative officer, who called Mr. Blazy a “genius with people” and “ready to lead.”
“He’s a great creative spirit,” Mr. Simons said. “He comes with lots of ideas and willingness to experiment, and that is a source of great motivation for his team.”
Mr. Blazy’s first job in fashion, years before he was at Calvin Klein, was also with Mr. Simons, as a designer for Mr. Simons’s namesake label. When Mr. Blazy left for Maison Martin Margiela, it was to expand his experience beyond men’s wear, Mr. Simons said.
It was during his time at Margiela that Mr. Blazy first captured the attention of fashion media. In 2014, he was revealed as the designer of its Artisanal haute couture line — the identities of these designers were typically kept secret — and called, by The Cut, “the most famous designer you’ve never heard of.” (Indeed, virtually no interviews with Mr. Blazy exist online even today.)
The following year, The New York Times named him a contender for one of the next big jobs in fashion. At the time, he was a senior designer at Celine, where Mr. Lee also worked, and where Mr. Blazy had gone to learn more about the commercial side of the business, according to Mr. Simons.
In a statement announcing the Bottega Veneta appointment on Monday, François-Henri Pinault, the chairman and chief executive of Bottega’s parent company, Kering, said that Mr. 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.” Mr. Blazy is a French and Belgian national who splits time between Antwerp and Milan.
Leo Rongone, the chief executive of Bottega, said that “Matthieu’s appointment will further enhance the modern relevance of our brand and accelerate our growth, while preserving the values” core to the brand.
That “modern relevance” came largely thanks to Mr. Lee, who leaves his stamp on the brand with critically and commercially successful leather accessories, including square-toe shoes and pouch bags and new interpretations of the house’s signature “intrecciato” leather weave.
Promoting from within, rather than recruiting a big-name designer from another big-name brand, is a strategy that has served Kering well, notably in 2015, when it filled the creative director role at Gucci with Alessandro Michele, then the head accessories designer.
Robert Burke, the founder of a luxury consultancy firm in New York, called Mr. Blazy’s appointment “well received in the industry” and said he didn’t expect any “slowing down” in the brand during this period of transition.
“It makes a lot of sense,” Mr. Burke said of Mr. Blazy’s new role. “He clearly has already been immersed within the Bottega brand itself.”
Vanessa Friedman contributed reporting.