With the final shows of fashion month wrapping up on Tuesday in Paris, you’d be forgiven for assuming the endless surprises of this season would be reaching their conclusion. Not so: Tonight, one of the most glaring omissions from the Milan schedule, Bottega Veneta, popped up in London for an event at the city’s legendary dance venue Sadlers Wells. And to keep us even more on our toes, initial whispers of the performance came not from within fashion circles or the brand’s press channels, but instead via the impressive lineup of attendees shot by paparazzi on their way into the show.
The first to be spotted was the south London rapper Stormzy, who stepped out of his car in a pared-back look that let Daniel Lee’s subtle details do the talking: a simple black tee with a perfectly cut pair of technical nylon trousers, elevated with a leather parka that featured bunched-up, toggled sleeves. The critically-acclaimed, chart-topping star is noted for his political advocacy as well as his music. This outlook is also something he’s expressed powerfully through style—notably as a headliner at last year’s Glastonbury festival, where Stormzy’s stab-proof vest, graffitied by Banksy with the Union Jack flag, served as a timely statement on knife crime and justice reform in Britain.
Another style-savvy attendee from the world of music was Skepta, the Tottenham-born rapper and producer who shot to fame in the mid-’00s as part of the grime collective Boy Better Know and won the prestigious Mercury Prize for his solo album, Konnichiwa, in 2016. Regularly spotted on the front row at Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton and Kim Jones’s Dior Men shows in Paris, Skepta knows more than a thing or two about fashion. For the event, he wore one of Bottega Veneta’s opulent intrecciato leather coats in black with a red underlayer, to perfectly match his Tire boots that featured a rubber sole in coordinating crimson.
Finally, there was a rare appearance by one of the British music scene’s most quietly influential fashion figures: Neneh Cherry, the legendary singer-songwriter whose 1989 album Raw Like Sushi brought the radical, DIY spirit of stylists Ray Petri and Judy Blame into the mainstream. Cherry’s look included a loose-fitting black blazer and shorts with a bandeau top underneath, but she gave it her signature edge by wearing the brand’s stompy Chelsea boots, a chunky gold chain, and a pyramid bag. Oh, and of course, a face mask in a contrasting shade of dark green.
The details of the night may still be under wraps, and how exactly the Italian house’s spring 2021 collection was shown tonight remains to be seen. But by bringing together a handful of the most agenda-setting talents from British music over the past few decades under one roof, Bottega Veneta has us very much intrigued.