Nobody saw it coming, but Daniel Lee is departing from Bottega Veneta.

The news was announced by Kering, the luxury conglomerate that owns the Italian fashion brand. In a statement, the group said, “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.”

Indeed, when Lee was named as the new creative director of the brand in 2018, the fashion brand was hardly in the spotlight like it is today. Lee himself was relatively unknown, although the British designer was noted for being old Céline’s director of ready-to-wear, working with the revered Phoebe Philo.

Naturally, he brought plenty of Philo-isms to Bottega Veneta, which attracted customers who missed Philo’s design sensibilities (her clothing was described as intelligent, chic and sexy all at once) after her departure from Céline.

Creating a new Bottega Veneta

Under Lee’s helm, Bottega Veneta became a favourite amongst It-girls. The brand built a huge presence on Instagram largely through Lee’s accessories, even when he deleted its social media accounts. Lee refreshed the brand’s signature intrecciato weave, creating oversized versions for handbags that became a hit, on top of introducing new styles like the padded Cassette and the Pouch.

He was also a key force behind the square-toe trend, having introduced a variety of stylish mules and heels that likewise, became must-haves for the fashionable crowd. He also managed to sell more practical styles like the Puddle Boots, which was just recently launched in knee-high styles and more colours.

During his tenure, Lee bagged four prizes at the 2019 British Fashion Awards, including designer of the year and brand of the year.

Where is Daniel Lee headed next?

In a statement, Lee shared, “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.”

Bottega Veneta is expected to announce Lee’s successor soon. As for where the British designer may be headed, perhaps we could look again at Phoebe Philo, who was revealed to be launching her eponymous luxury fashion brand at LVMH. Perhaps Lee could be rejoining the designer that helped refine his minimalist aesthetic?

Stay tuned for news on the designer’s next move.

Header photo credit: Bottega Veneta

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