DA MAN: You famously mentioned in an interview that you normally start designing from colors before moving to shapes. Can you elaborate?
Tomas Maier: Color is always my starting point in the creative process. I create a color palette, not general shades but specific, precise hues, then pass on to material which naturally leads to shape and construction.
A backpack with a similar patched look
DA MAN: And what do you usually do when you’re creating a whole new look?
Tomas Maier: It is not my intention to dictate rules of dressing. I simply stay true to my own sense of aesthetics and value and trust that others will share and appreciate my sensibility and work. It is important that each element is crafted to enhance an individual’s own style, and to be a part of their life for a long time.
DA MAN: Are there significant differences in the way you approach designing Bottega Veneta’s men’s, women’s or home collections?
Tomas Maier: My approach to furniture design is very much in line with my approach to clothing: To blend discretion with a personal understanding of luxury and provide our clients with the highest quality material and construction. All of our collections have grown throughout the years and today they all offer a full range of pieces that appeal to the owner’s individual sense of style.
“That is how the best design should be: invisible”
DA MAN: You often mention that architectural work inspires you. How does it influence your designs?
Tomas Maier: Both art and architecture have always been a source of inspiration for me, even if not literally. I have a personal and deep appreciation of art and architecture, and I strongly believe in the importance of protecting culture as a substantial part of our history and heritage. In respecting it, we have an opportunity of growth and evolution, thus bringing our stories to the next step.
DA MAN: On a related note, what is your favorite architectural work?
Tomas Maier: I have moved around a great deal, but an unforgettable place I’ve traveled to is the Benesse Art Site on Naoshima and its surrounding islands. It is beautiful on an architectural level because it is incorporated and displayed in a beautiful way, harmonious with the landscape.
Sleek and deep hues also fill the suits on the runway
DA MAN: Going back to the 50th anniversary of the house, what do you think should people remember about the house when discussing such an important milestone?
Tomas Maier: Bottega Veneta is about the craftspeople. They are the ones with the knowledge, and they are at the heart of the brand. This collection reveals their work at its absolute best.
DA MAN: Why do you think it is this the right time to combine the men’s and women’s shows?
Tomas Maier: In 2016, I celebrated my 15th anniversary as creative director as well as the 50th anniversary of the founding of the house. So, I really wanted to organize a special show to celebrate these two milestones that are particularly meaningful to me, and to also take the opportunity to widely gather contributors and supporters of Bottega Veneta. As for the decision of showing the women’s and men’s collections together, we realize our universe is built on both genders. Therefore, showing both women and men together is an organic move that follows the evolution of my creative vision.
DA MAN: How would you sum up the evolution of your design for the brand throughout those 15 years?
Tomas Maier: I think my vision for the brand hasn’t changed since I joined, but it has certainly evolved. With everything we have created over the last 15 years, we are in a completely different place. It has been, and continues to be, a challenge for us, and we like bringing it to a certain level of being unexpected. Even when somebody says “it’s never been done,” there’s always a solution.
A model showcasing a leather-patched bag
DA MAN: Who did you look up to when you started designing for the brand?
Tomas Maier: There are many people who have inspired me from different points of view. On a professional level, those that I have worked for or have worked with: From Sonia Rykiel, I learned the importance of believing in your own vision. From Jean-Louis Dumas, at Hermès, I learnt the importance of patience. He once said to me that “there needs to be passion and patience.” I think that is a great piece of advice, especially in the market that we are in, in this luxury world. It’s not only the passion for what we create and what we put out there that’s important, but also the patience—the patience to let the product come to life, to let the product be understood.
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