At last night’s Fashion Awards, it was Daniel Lee’s night. The creative director of Bottega Veneta took home four coveted accolades, including Designer of the Year and Brand of the Year. But, although this accomplishment is extremely impressive, it wasn’t altogether unexpected. Ever since taking over the prestigious Italian label 18 months ago, the British designer has quickly become the new name to know and has catapulted a previously quieter brand into the fashion spotlight.
Lee’s appointment was announced in June 2018. He was taking over from Tomas Maier who had helmed Bottega for 17 years. While the brand was in a solid position as a respected Italian fashion house with impressive heritage and strong sales within the leather goods market, Lee has transformed it into an ‘It’ label at the forefront of fashion – Bottega Veneta’s show is currently one of the most highly anticipated on the calendar, several of Lee’s designs have already developed cult-like status (the Pouch bag, the Padded sandals) and there are swarms of fans (almost 150,000) following an Instagram account devoted to this fresh look, entitled ‘New Bottega’.
Although Lee’s sensational rise may seem like it has happened practically overnight, this has been no fluke – the designer’s experience was surely never going to lead him anywhere else but success.
Having studied at Central Saint Martins (and counted the esteemed Louise Wilson as a tutor), Lee gained experience working at Maison Margiela, Donna Karan and Balenciaga, before joining Céline in 2012, where he worked under creative director Phoebe Philo as the director of ready-to-wear. It is impossible not to compare his overwhelming success to her’s and to wonder if he might now be dressing that ‘Old Céline’ customer with his cool but understated, elegant designs at the ‘New Bottega’.