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Whoa: Daniel Lee Is Leaving Bottega Veneta

The man behind "New Bottega" first joined the brand in 2018.
Mary J. Blige and Bottega Veneta designer Daniel Lee attend the Bottega Veneta Salon 03 Presentation at Michigan Theater

Today, in news we didn't see coming: Daniel Lee, the designer behind Bottega Veneta's (much-talked-about, very profitable) reinvention, is leaving the brand. 

Bottega Veneta and Lee announced that they had reached "a joint decision to end their collaboration," which began in July 2018, in a press release on Wednesday. This comes weeks after the brand presented its latest collection, Salon 03, in Detroit, Michigan; just two days ago, it unveiled a new Salon 02 campaign photographed by Tyrone Lebon at Australia's famed Bondi Beach. 

In a media alert shared by Bottega Veneta, CEO Leo Rongone thanked Lee "for his dedication to the House over the past three years," in a statement: "He provided Bottega Veneta with a fresh perspective and a new sense of modernity, while remaining respectful of the brand's fifty-year heritage. The remarkable growth of the brand over the last three years bears testimony to the success of his creative work." 

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François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering (Bottega Veneta's parent company), added: "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 center 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."

Lee called his time at Bottega Veneta "an incredible experience," and said he was "grateful to have worked with an exceptional and talented team, and I am forever thankful to everyone who was part of creating our vision." 

There's no overstating how impactful Lee's stint at Bottega Veneta has been. In addition to solid sales and continuous hype — despite bowing out of all social media earlier this year — Lee's vision of understated, but impactful, forward-thinking luxury for the Italian fashion house resonated with customers, influencers and important industry people alike pretty much since his debut for Fall 2019, a phenomenon dubbed "New Bottega." That year alone, Lee won all four Fashion Awards he was up for: Designer of the Year, British Designer of the Year —Womenswear, Accessories Designer of the Year and Brand of the Year. He's also up for a 2021 CFDA Fashion Award... tonight.

As far as what comes next for Bottega Veneta, the brand said simply: "A new creative organization for the House will be announced soon."

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