Bottega Veneta’s motto may be “when your own initials are enough,” but its creative director Tomas Maier stamps more than ‘TM’ over the brand’s advertising campaigns. Since 2002, the German-born designer has invited a different photographer or artist to collaborate on each seasonal campaign.are among the 27 artists to have captured Maier’s creative vision, and over 1,000 of the resulting cinematic images have been brought together in a weighty new tome: Bottega Veneta: Art of Collaboration, published by Rizzoli.
The portfolio of work demonstrates Maier’s wide-ranging inspirations – he seeks out artists from a variety of fields, not just fashion. “I decided to start the Art of Collaboration as a way of introducing deeper ideas and narratives into our own way of intending our collections. I like the idea of exploring and finding new points of view, which can be brought in by artists that don’t necessarily work in fashion and look at it from a different perspective,” said Maier in an exclusive interview with Telegraph Luxury. “Some of my favourite campaigns are with those who do not usually work in fashion.”
Such campaigns include the autumn/winter 2010 images created by American artist Robert Longo, who drew inspiration from the writhing figures of his iconic 1980s work Men in the Cities; and Alex Prager’s Hitchcock-referencing spring/summer 2011 campaign. “Artists who work in photography often spend their lives taking images of clothing as it is, worn by their subjects in a natural state,” says Maier. “Their eye is used to capturing the detail of fabric, or of an accessory, and how a garment can say much about the person who is wearing it. When they come to shoot a campaign image, they bring all that skill with them, and they shoot the clothes as if they already have a life beyond the catwalk.”
“Photography is one of my passions in life, and it has been very interesting for me to use photography to broaden the impression of what Bottega Veneta means today,” he says. “It was important for me to do something more than the usual advertising campaigns, because I know how emblematic the images can become. I wanted to use the campaigns to express a wider idea of creativity and craft that Bottega Veneta stands for, beyond the normal bounds of fashion.”
Collaboration, education and safeguarding the future, not to mention designing several women’s, men’s and home collections annually: what’s next for the busy Mr Maier? “I have always wanted to work with Martin Parr, but it needs to be the right collection,” he says. “I am very careful when I choose the collaborators that their work fits with the collection we have just presented, and Martin would need something with the right colour and detail. But this is a long-term project. The right collection will come.”
‘To celebrate the release of new book ‘Bottega Veneta: Art of Collaboration’, featuring images chosen by Tomas Maier from 14 years of campaigns and photographers from around the world, see 15 striking shots by Steven Meisel, Peter Lindbergh and Collier Schorr.’