To my surprise, Italian fashion house Bottega Veneta descended upon the city of Detroit with their Spring/Summer fashion extravaganza. Even though this venue was announced in July, "Bottega Veneta is bringing its Spring 2022 collection to a runway in Detroit to showcase its third new-format show, 'Salon 03', on October 21" (July 4, 2021).
This was obscure, out of the left for such an old established fashion house to schedule and show their upcoming fashion line. I was so shocked and at the same time fascinated with the idea of a fashion designer taking such a risk.
This is my city, and I am honored that someone can see the beauty, energy, and fantastic people known for their drive, style, and perseverance. In Detroit, we believe in dressing up and staying sharp. For as long as I can remember, "Detroiters" did not follow fashion fads, and we always had a style of our own.
We always rocked designer fashions, alligator shoes, Stacy Adams, Cartier glasses, the most stylish hairdos, Borsalino's from the oldest hat store in the US, Henry the Hatter, "Established in 1893 by Detroit native Henry Komrofsky." And let me not forget the latest model car.
The fashion show was held at the Michigan Building Theatre, downtown Detroit. A once-vibrant venue was built in 1926 but was gutted and turned into a parking lot in 1977. According to Daniel Lee, the brand's creative director wanted to try something different and selected Detroit as the venue for his Spring/Summer 2022 collection (2021).
To put this fashion show in perspective and create an incredible experience. Marketing agency Olu & Company worked with Lee to create an itinerary with opportunities to learn more about why he was fixated on presenting his collection in the city and how it aligns with his sensibilities. The fashion extravaganza showcased local models but included hometown girl Madonna's daughter Lourdes Leon. In attendance, about 40 people (mostly press) who boarded a chartered plane departing from Newark Airport, fashion mavens Mary J. Blige and Little Kim were in two front seats and center. Along with a slew of local celebrities who attended this landmark venue and performance by a local musical artist.
Lee said his collection was influenced by American sportswear, particularly workwear, a Detroit staple. This translated to a variety of workwear-Esque jackets and matching baggy pants that came in denim, recycled nylon, and a coated textile that reminded me of the shiny suits Puffy and Mase wore in the "Mo Money, Mo Problems" video (styled by June Ambrose). He presented his take on a halter dress with an A-line skirt, which Marilyn Monroe memorialized, but switched its construction. A white version featured black stripes that curved around the chest/torso before fluting into flouncy pleats. Lee also presented items he's known for, like sequins dresses or matching skirts and tops embroidered with tiny crystals.
This fashion show was an example of creativity does not have to come from a specific area for you to be seen or be successful. You can create from wherever you are located. In the past couple of years, we have seen this happen during this pandemic season, where many artists are showcasing their work online or with popups for all to see. However, you can still become a successful and famous artist in our digital age regardless of your location. I greatly admire how designer Daniel Lee took a chance to show in such a long-forgotten city and was able to see the greatness of the town, the people, and what Detroit was made of. Hopefully, in the future, my city "Detroit" will become the forefront of creativity.
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