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MFW: Bottega Veneta goes sculptural and soft for fall

March 1, 2009 | 12:41 pm

Rage_bottega MILAN -- "Sculptural" is a watch word to describe many of the collections we're seeing this season. But at Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier showed us how sculptural clothes can be done in a forward-thinking and sensual way, heightened by rich fabrics and a quiet palette all his own, with charmingly subtle colors such as "bramble," "truffle," "grape" and "elephant."

The key piece was the dress -- silk twill, wool or soft nappa -- in different versions of an envelope shape, with soft flaps in back or on the sides.

Everything felt soft and romantic -- a faded rose, shiny nappa trench coat, a sleeveless, truffle-colored, tufted wool gauze dress with a sheer back, and a lilac cashmere jersey dress with a ruched bodice and bra top.

One of Maier's great assets is measured restraint, which he demonstrated brilliantly on silk velvet dresses, backless except for a few ropes of rhinestones holding them to the body, something that easily could have looked trashy but instead looked elegant.

The ivory chiffon goddess gowns at the end of the show were also stunning in their simplicity, with double-layer skirts, braided halters or belts.

The collection was so riveting, I forgot to look at the shoes and bags, which is saying something for a brand that started as a leathergoods maker.

-- Booth Moore

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Photo: A look from Bottega Venet'as Fall 2009 collection shown during Milan Fashion Week on Saturday. Credit: AP Photo /Luca Bruno.