Kering, the luxury group and owner of Bottega Veneta, has announced that creative director Daniel Lee is leaving the Italian brand by "mutual agreement".
“I would like to thank Daniel for his dedication to the house over the past three years," Leo Rongone, chief executive of Bottega Veneta, said on Wednesday. "He provided Bottega Veneta with a fresh perspective and a new sense of modernity, while remaining respectful of the brand’s 50-year heritage. The remarkable growth of the brand over the last three years bears testimony to the success of his creative work.”
Lee was appointed creative director of the storied Italian house in July 2018 and during his tenure infused it with a newer, more youthful energy. He reworked the signature woven intrecciato pattern, enlarging it to huge proportions, padded it out and turned it into soft slouchy bags, and even backless mules.
Under him, the house shifted focus from its heritage of discreet Italian classical elegance, to something far more colourful and less structured. His reimagining drove an increase in sales in 2019 of 2.2 per cent, to nearly €1.2 billion, according to Business of Fashion.
With his bold new vision for the house, for his first season he released the soft Pouch bag, which set a trend for unstructured bags, while his square-toe shoes won him plaudits and his ankle-length, rubber "puddle boots" triggered a new footwear craze.
“I am very grateful to Daniel for having brought his passion and energy to Bottega Veneta. His singular vision made the house’s heritage relevant for today and put it back to the centre of the fashion scene. I would like to personally thank him for the unique chapter that he has written in the long history of Bottega Veneta," Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of Kering, said.
Lee called his time at the brand 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.”
Before being picked to take over Bottega Veneta, Lee worked in the studio at Celine, under Phoebe Philo who was creative director at the time. As to the future, there is no hint yet of where he will go next, if anywhere. Kering has not announced his successor.
In addition to Bottega Veneta, Kering also owns Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Brioni, as well as the watch and jewellery brands Boucheron, Pomellato, DoDo, Qeelin, Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux.