Meet Tomas Maier, The Person Behind Bottega Veneta

Just by looking at him you would automatically notice his dazzling charisma. Perhaps it’s in his gut, a strong sense and a very precise idea of how things should be. Under his spotlight and within his discipline, Tomas Maier brings forth Bottega Veneta to its centre stage.

It was 60 years ago at the edge of the Black Forest in Pforzheim, Germany, Tomas Maier was born in a family of architects. He attended a Waldorf school as a child before headed to Paris to gain knowledge and skills at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Throughout his passage, Tomas worked in some of the most prestigious fashion and luxury goods houses in Europe, including Hermès, Sonia Rykiel and Revillion – where he spent four years as creative director. As a result, in addition to possessing a vast knowledge of fashion, he had received a long list of accomplishments that became an early acknowledgement of his marvellous talent.

The German designer has a very individualistic sense of style; he is strictly focused, autonomous and passionate about his work. He values people and things that comprehend strong personalities. There are many people who have inspired and affected Tomas from different points of view on a professional level, “From Sonia Rykiel, I learned the importance of believing in your own vision. From Jean-Louis Dumas at Hermès, I learned the importance of patience. He once said to me, ‘Always think there needs to be passion and patience.’” It’s a piece of advice that holds deep understanding for Tomas. “In the market that we are in, the luxury world, I think it’s not only about the passion for what we create and what we put out there, but it’s also about patience. The patience to let the product come to life and be understood,” he said.

It was never an obstacle for Tomas Maier to find his route. Ever since he was 15 years old, he had been interested in learning deeper about fashion; he had no difficulties searching for ideas as well. “I have always been inspired and passionate by many things; art, architecture, photography, music, the places and things I have discovered on my travels and throughout my life. Each of them enriches my life and feeds my creativity in different ways.” He trusts that the people who are best would be the ones who concentrate in their own thing, and believes the major keys to success are how we keep a strong quality, timelessness and firmness in respecting the founding values with no compromise. “We should keep on challenging ourselves constantly to bring it a step further, finding innovative techniques and new materials, avoiding trends and staying true to the artisanal roots so we can be both relevant and desirable,” a message to be proud of our own characteristics. Keeping this in mind, Tomas proves that in order to go on no one needs to take part in the glamorous circus the fashion industry is so well known for. He doesn’t necessarily hunt the spotlight, he instead manages to carry his own simply as the strongest gun.

HIS CREATIVE JOURNEY AT BOTTEGA VENETA

Tomas Maier joined Bottega Veneta as creative director in June 2001. The guy presented his first collection, which consisted solely of accessories, just a few months after being hired. In the years since, he has inaugurated the brand as one of the world’s top luxury goods houses. In that same time, he also transformed the luxury goods business that offers a thoughtful and increasingly important argument for the primacy of quality, craftsmanship and individuality. “I believe the concept of luxury has remained the same, but when I joined the house it was losing its identity and roots. So I instituted our four cornerstones of outstanding craftsmanship, timeless yet innovative design, contemporary functionality and the highest quality materials,” he explained the philosophy that continues to drive everything the house creates and produces today. Having these principles as a road map has helped Bottega Veneta to become the luxury lifestyle brand that it is today. Indeed, he is still best known for his role in Bottega’s rapid rise from second tier house to the very pinnacle of luxury, taking in over US $1 billion in sales annually.

Heritage and tradition are inherent values to the brand. Maier promises that the house will stay true to its artisanal roots, a cultural heritage that fuses technique and creativity with know-how and gestures that have been passed down over time and grant the brand’s identity. “It is by protecting and honouring our past that we keep on growing,” states him calmly. “The biggest challenge is to always maintain an interest and an excitement both for myself, as a creative director, and for our clients. There’s always excitement in novelty with new projects and new collections.” Although the brand has evolved firmly under his cognition, the man of the house refused to pinpoint stereotypes of any ‘Bottega Veneta woman/man’ characteristics. He expressed that, “Style is more about an attitude, a life philosophy and an appreciation for excellence that is often understated. The Bottega Veneta women and men are people who have a keen sense of their values and priorities without needing to show them.”

According to Tomas, all Bottega Veneta products are the result of a unique collaboration between creativity and craftsmanship; they can be seen iconic and luxurious on a deeply personal level. “I strongly believe in the importance of protecting culture as a substantial part of our history and heritage. Just by respecting it, we would have an opportunity of growth and evolution, bringing our stories to the next step.” Take the first bag Tomas Maier designed for Bottega Veneta back in 2001, Cabat. It was unlined and essentially reflects Bottega’s elegance and contemporary functionality –beautifully designed on the inside as it is on the outside. And with the emblematic Bottega Knot perfume, Tomas went all the way to the house’s archives with the aim of achieving that feeling of a little treasure in its minimalism and compactness. “An item is iconic when it represents everything Bottega Veneta should be and transcends seasons, being timeless and unique. That is what I had in mind when creating both Cabat and the Knot fragrance.”

In creating a fashion house that matches his standards, Tomas Maier thrives on a dynamic, two-way collaboration and mutual respect with his artisans. He always keeps the bond to work closely together to develop, test and solve design challenges, “Our artisans boast an extensive knowledge and a deeply rooted expertise gained over time,” he said to us. “I like the sense that there are skilled men behind Bottega Veneta to make our products. The artisans’ involvement can be creative as well as technical.” Hand in hand, giving feedback and suggestions, Tomas Maier respects and values his team contributions to each of his designs. As the idealistic mastermind, he surely knows how to be profound and engaged with not only his clients but also what the brand needs.