Phelps also asked the French Belgian designer about his sting at Maison Martin Margiela in the early 2010s, a position that was anonymous, until he was famously “outed” by the journalist Suzy Menkes. “When they called me at Margiela, a lot of people told me ‘Martin is not in the house anymore, it’s a dead zone, you’re not going to do anything there,’ so I took it as a super challenge and an opportunity,” he explained. “It was all about transformation: you would cut into a perfect jacket and make a skirt out of it. You would take cans and turn [them] into a shoe. Everything was a possibility.” Of the experience of working anonymously versus now being a very known industry star, he added mischievously, “the only thing that changed is that sometimes people call you ‘Matthieu’, and you don’t know who they are and that’s a little weird.”
The designer also recalled the thought process behind the look that opened his first Bottega Veneta collection: a white tank top and a pair of light wash jeans, both of which turned out to be made of leather; something that many in the audience—including Phelps—didn’t realize until it was pointed it out at the after-show dinner. “And had he not told me that, I would’ve written a completely different review,” she said as the room filled with laughter.
“The thing with Bottega is that it’s all about craft, and a lot of people see craft as something very dusty or overworked, and when we sat down with the team I said, ‘let’s do something mega-craft that is also extremely real.” Blazy continued, “I kept on thinking about Natalie Portman when she walked in the final scene from Closer, she’s wearing a tank top and a pair of jeans and the confidence is amazing. Everyone looks at her and the outfit is the most basic. And just to trick the story a little bit, I challenged the team to realize it fully in leather. It took time, it was really complicated, but the result was so simple and I liked the idea that no one [noticed it] and I also thought there was something quite perverted in the idea that you can only realize [they are] leather if someone touched you or you’re getting touched. There was something quite erotic about it.”