Bottega Veneta announced a new show model early in the pandemic: Milan was out, and off-schedule, salon-style shows were in. Daniel Lee, the brand’s creative director, would take his collections on the road, engaging with both local talent and local audiences in the cities where the brand set up shop. Last October, he returned to his home base of London. In April, he performed at Berlin’s Berghain nightclub. Salon 03 took place tonight at Detroit’s Michigan Theatre, a 4,000-seat movie palace built during the city’s spectacular automotive-fueled boom in the 1920s and converted into a parking garage during the city’s even more spectacular bust in the 1970s.
Among the celebrities who flew in to watch were Mary J. Blige and Lil’ Kim. A planeload of reporters, magazine editors, and stylists, as well as the young designers Peter Do and Hillary Taymour, flew in from New York. Many, if not the majority, of them, were visiting Detroit for the first time. The attractions were curiosity about Detroit and what Lee and company could get up to there.
“Over the past few years, Detroit, the blackest big city in the country, has been hot with reporters and filmmakers who’ve assigned themselves the work of comparing the city’s mythical past against its precarious present,” Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in The Atlantic in 2011. Unlike New York or Los Angeles, it’s still the kind of place that has something to prove a decade later. Bottega Veneta and Daniel Lee are on the scene.
The day’s events included a culture tour that stopped at the mid-century Hawkins Ferry House in Grosse Pointe; Exhibition 3000, the world’s first and only techno museum; and the studio of furniture designer Chris Schanck, who is one of the Detroiters who contributed to Bottega’s three-month pop-up shop at a decommissioned firehouse in the city’s Corktown neighborhood. The show’s sonic components were created by techno creatives Moodymann and Carl Craig.