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28-04-2008
  16
at the irish pub
 
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It is really suprising to see how he re-built the brand!I prefer this Bottega Veneta,of course :p

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28-04-2008
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Power to the 99%
 
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^ Uh, yeah

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29-04-2008
  18
backstage pass
 
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I started thinking that Tomas is one special guy. I have read somewhere that he was dealing with his own brand in Miami (and having some problems keeping it afloat) when Tom Ford called him over and finally convinced him to take over BV. He seems like a perfectionist and has the sense of quality which most designers do not have -or care about- these days.

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08-08-2008
  19
The future is stupid
 
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Less is Maier by Matt Tyrnauer : Vanity Fair Article September 2008
Source | Vanity Fair
Stylist: Elizabeth Saltzman Walker
Photographer: Todd Eberle


1. Maier in the doorway of his Palm Beach house, overlooking the Atlantic.

2. The pool area of Tomas Maier’s house in Palm Beach has the discreet elegance of everything he designs for his two lines of luxury goods.

3. The dining room of Maier’s Palm Beach house, with a table designed by Maier, an 18th-century Austrian chandelier, Royal Nymphenburg figurines of Neptune and his chariot, and Saarinen for Knoll, Paris, chairs.



Quote:
Less Is Maier
Bottega Veneta was hovering on the brink of bankruptcy when Tomas Maier took the helm as creative director. In six years he has pulled off a stunning $575 million turnaround at the venerable Italian luxury-goods firm, without sacrificing its no-logo, anti-bling aesthetic, his own eponymous label, or the Florida lifestyle he craved. In Milan and Palm Beach, the author discovers the interplay of passion and understatement, precision and freedom, that has made Maier a new kind of design star.

Before each of my appointments with Tomas Maier, the creative director for Bottega Veneta, I receive the same phone call from a member of his public-relations team: “Tomas is always very prompt, so please be on time.” These warnings take on the greatest urgency in Milan, where Maier works long hours at Bottega Veneta’s creative studios, overseeing the design of luxury lines including women’s wear, men’s wear, leather accessories, fashion accessories, and furniture—all together a $575 million business that has been compared to the second coming of Gucci, under Tom Ford. “Milan is not my favorite place,” Maier tells me, explaining his refusal to live in the Italian fashion capital. Instead, he visits the city approximately 10 times a year, living when he is there in a five-star hotel, designing and approving designs, and doing little else. The minute his work is done, Maier abandons his minimalist office at Bottega’s sleek headquarters, on the somewhat shabby Viale Piceno, and jets back to his home base, a pavilion-like house just south of Palm Beach, Florida, where he lives with two Chihuahuas and his partner of 20 years, Andrew Preston, the C.O.O. of Maier’s other successful fashion label, the eponymous Tomas Maier.

I am three minutes late for our 8:30 dinner at Da Giacomo, a smart restaurant in Milan’s Via Benvenuto Cellini. Sure enough, Maier is already at the table, fiddling with his BlackBerry. Wearing a trim-fitted blue blazer with a white, open-collar shirt, he greets me warmly, and I detect a twinkle in his wide-set eyes, which are shielded by thick, yellow-tinted aviator glasses. His German accent is pronounced, at least when he speaks English—his third language, after German and French. He was born Thomas Maier—the h was dropped to make his first and last names more symmetrical—in the town of Pforzheim, in the Black Forest, in 1957. His father was a successful architect. “I used to sit with him and watch him work at his drafting table,” says Maier, indicating that the elder Maier may have passed on his architect’s precision to his son—what Preston calls “a German mind-set that does not tolerate disorder.”

A few days after our dinner, during an interview at Maier’s office, I ask him if I can see his studio, in an adjacent room, where he perfects the refined tailoring that is his hallmark for everything from wool and georgette evening gowns to tweed women’s suits, to men’s cinch-waisted tuxedos—not to mention the fabled Bottega Veneta leather goods, which make up more than 80 percent of the company’s product line and can cost up to $75,000 apiece, when they are made of precious skins such as crocodile. (There is a six-month waiting period for some bags.)

Maier hesitates, so I imagine that the studio, like most ateliers, is in disarray, with hints of future collections visible in sketches and on mannequins. When Maier finally opens the door, however, I find the room empty, a sterile, white-on-white environment reminiscent of a microchip lab. He tells me that he has every fabric bolt and pincushion cleared away between fittings.

Maier’s orderly mind has found a very good fit at Bottega Veneta; so has his eye for quiet luxury, along with his strong attraction to all things anti-bling. A Bottega bag, unlike those from the main competitors, never features a logo on the outside. “Tomas is Mr. Discreet,” says Preston. “He is discreet, the product is discreet. The old Bottega motto from the 70s was ‘When Your Own Initials Are Enough.’ Perfect for Tomas. Streamlined, only for those who know. He’s not out to prove anything. Either you get it or you don’t. And he doesn’t want everyone to get it. I mean, it’s not like he’s trying to hide it, but it’s not his goal in life—to please everyone.”

“Tomas is the model for a new kind of design star—more understated,” says François-Henri Pinault, the chairman of PPR (Pinault-Printemps-Redoute), the $23 billion conglomerate whose Gucci Group includes Bottega Veneta as well as the labels Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, and Balenciaga. Since 2006, Bottega has outperformed the iconic YSL brand and in the PPR stable is second only to the Gucci brand in profitability. Pinault adds, “Tomas does not put the attention on himself, but rather focuses on the brand, and the enormous attention to quality that defines what he is doing. I would not make a direct comparison to Hermès, because the Bottega customer is perhaps a bit younger, less staid, but Tomas is creating a new luxury house with a very wide product range—at the very high end—and finding success in a remarkably short period of time.”

In the seven years Maier has run Bottega, he has pulled off one of the great turnarounds in the annals of fashion. In 2001 the company was in the red. In 2007 it made $130 million in earnings. There are 113 stores worldwide.

When Maier arrived at the house, in 2001, after 10 years at Hermès designing ready-to-wear and leather products, the brand was in desperate straits. Many of Bottega’s products were made of nylon, and the 100 skilled artisans in the company’s workrooms were not being utilized to anywhere near their full potential. As of this year, there are 200 leatherworkers in the factory, and Bottega has started a craft school so that time-honored traditions may be passed on.

“By the 90s the company had been ransacked, totally gutted, and abused, but in the 70s it was a very chic thing for a woman to have a Bottega bag,” says Tom Ford, who served as creative director of the Gucci Group when the company acquired Bottega, for $156 million, in 2001. It was Ford who tapped Maier to revamp the brand. (In 2003, Ford, along with his business partner, Domenico De Sole, left the Gucci Group after sparring with François Pinault, François-Henri’s father, who was then C.E.O. of PPR.) “Traditionally, Bottega was understated when everything was LVs and GGs,” Ford continues. “I bought the company because, at the time, we had Gucci, and Bottega was meant to be the counterpoint to that. Quite honestly, it was what I would have liked to be able to do at Gucci at the time, but I couldn’t, because it was always this big logo brand—so this was an outlet, in a sense, to have a more sophisticated, quieter product.”

“There was this much left when I arrived,” Maier says, making a small space between his thumb and index finger. “They were going to be bankrupt in a few weeks, and they could not make the salaries for the workers. It would have been the end.” The company was founded in 1966, in Vicenza, Italy, in the Veneto region. The métier of Bottega was working soft glove leather by hand and weaving it into a distinctive crosshatched pattern, called intrecciato. Theintrecciato bag soon became an international status symbol, and Maier, in his revamp of the company, has made the pattern the leitmotif of the whole house, applying it to everything from his signature Cabat bag (an unconstructed tote, said to be the Kelly bag of Bottega) to silver picture frames, floor lamps, desks, china, and crystal tumblers. He has also pushed his leather workrooms in Vicenza to broaden the product line considerably. “What I learned at Hermès was passion and patience,” he says. “But, in a certain way, it’s easier to do this in Italy. It is the difference between the Italians and the French: the Italians are up for trying anything, whereas the French always tell you, ‘That is not the way it is done.’ And they don’t move from that position."

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08-08-2008
  20
The future is stupid
 
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continued...

Quote:
At first, Maier says, he was reluctant to accept Ford’s job offer. “I had just left Hermès,” he recalls, “just started my clothing line.” He and Preston were relocating permanently to Miami. “After Hermès, it was time for a big change. Paris was getting a bit grating after 20 years—working for Guy Laroche, Sonia Rykiel, Hermès—and we wanted more sunshine, more freedom. I told Tom, ‘That really doesn’t fit into my life right now.’ He said, ‘Think about it and call me back.’ I did, and I called back and told him I wanted to do it. It was going to be an enormous challenge, but I asked for—and got—autonomy. I could hold the reins, and no one would bother me or make me answer to them creatively. They kept the bargain. I could still live in Florida, and that was the only way I would work.”

Three years earlier, Maier had launched the Tomas Maier line, working out of an apartment he shared with Preston in the Palais Royal. “We started it in our living room, auto-financed,” Preston explains. “In the beginning, we lived between Paris and Miami a little bit. We would go back and forth, and then we decided to move to the new country and abandon the old. It started with bathing suits—very simple—though Tomas’s style wasn’t easy.

He had almost this creative arrogance about starting out: ‘We don’t advertise. We never discuss who wears it.’ I’m serious. Here we are starting this little company, and he’s telling me, ‘We won’t sell to those people,’ because they’re not right for the brand. And I’m like, ‘O.K.’ Thank God that there were people out there who got it, who understood that it was super-streamlined, simple clothing with no zippers, no buttons—the concept is clothes for time off.”

Even though Bottega has pulled Maier back into the center of European fashion, he has managed to create a dual existence. In Milan he leads a life of heavy regimentation and would-be anonymity. (For instance, he always requests a hotel room on a short corridor so that he does not have to run into too many people.) In South Florida, Maier shuttles between his store in Miami and his home and second store in Palm Beach—each one a jewel box, stocked with the things he loves.

"Personal details are luxury to me,” Maier says as we stand on the stoop of his Palm Beach store, hidden in a courtyard and up a flight of stairs in what was once the architect Addison Mizner’s workshop. “I like that it’s not on Worth Avenue, and you have to climb stairs and make an effort to get here. It makes it more special,” he adds. Maier’s stores are curatorial, with collections of his own designs alongside such favorites of his as jewelry by Tom Binns and Carlos Souza, Nymphenburg porcelain pieces, Santa Maria Novella products, Mariage Frères teas, and stacks of art books, including monographs of the work of the great Palm Beach architects—Mizner, John Volk, Maurice Fatio.

His interest in classic Palm Beach architecture borders on fetishistic. Occasionally, he and Preston can be found traipsing through old houses with a real-estate-agent friend. “You have to go right when the listing comes up, or else you will never see them again,” he tells me. “Either the new owner will not be someone who will let you in, or they will ruin it and it won’t exist anymore.” This passion becomes clear when he takes me on a tour of the town in his white Land Rover Series III safari vehicle. As we cruise along U.S. 1A, he points out Estée Lauder’s columned estate, now occupied by her son Ronald, and the former Mollie Wilmot house, renowned for the day Mrs. Wilmot awoke after a storm to find a Venezuelan supertanker parked by her pool. (She served the crew breakfast.) Of the vast Breakers hotel, he has a critique: “The color is really tragic. I think they should change it. So brown.” His current fixation is an Addison Mizner house once owned by a prominent Palm Beach family. Maier is obsessed with one particular detail. “It has only one very small window in the living room, the size of maybe a large door, overlooking the ocean,” he says. “Most people would think that was a flaw. But it made the room. A very restricted view. You could only see the ocean in exactly the way Mizner wanted you to see it. And that made it more special, because you were not drowned in ocean, but had it framed exquisitely for you.”

For his own home, Maier has tried similar architectural framing methods. In re-structuring the interior and exterior of the 60s-era, Bermuda-style house, he took inspiration from the California modernist Craig Ellwood, who, he says, “had the most elegant floor plans I have ever seen—all the loud rooms together and the quiet rooms away from them.” Like many Palm Beach houses, it is more than meets the eye from the outside. “I love mystery houses that look small from the street,” Maier tells me, “but you walk in them and discover room after room.” Behind a big gate there is a clean car court, which gives onto an ordered yard that looks like the fantasy lawn in Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits, with its trees in white planter boxes and a square fountain pool. Beyond that is a swimming-pool court that could have been inspired by the famous Slim Aarons photograph of Babe Paley by her pool at Round Hill, in Jamaica. “It’s really a house for being outdoors. I grew up outdoors, which is really why I wanted to leave Paris, to re-discover that.”

Maier may be a connoisseur of Palm Beach architecture, but he finds little pleasure in cultivating the owners of the houses he covets. “They aren’t the people I want to be with, so I don’t do that. But I would love one day to see the inside of the Everglades Club, just to know what Mizner did. I am sure it’s a beauty,” he says. There are only two ways to get into the Wasp enclave: apply for membership or ask to be taken by a member. Neither option holds any appeal for Mr. Discreet.

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31-03-2009
  21
Storm & Sommer
 
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Update - the Tomas Maier store has relocated to the Miami Design District:

170 ne 40th street
miami, fl 33137
t: 305.576.8383

They also have a stores in Palm Beach and the Hamptons

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04-01-2011
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The future is stupid
 
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The New Yorker, January 3, 2011


source | newyorker.com


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05-01-2011
  23
Power to the 99%
 
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^ Great article!

I would dispute, though, that 'anyone' can afford a $550 scarf by deciding to have less. I've already decided that, and one of the things I decided not to have was scarves

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06-01-2011
  24
no tom ford, no thanks.
 
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i love this article. one can see why tom ford trusted this man so much to such an iconic house. i love the line ending, "anyone who couldn't distinguish the difference between a real Longo and an imitation was not the customer he was after."

and with $550 being less than the bi-weekly paycheck of a minimum wage worker, he has a point about middle class people -- who earn several times that -- being able to afford these things. i know people who spend more filling their boat for the weekend.

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06-01-2011
  25
Power to the 99%
 
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^ Yes, I agree about middle class (I'm a Bottega customer myself, and I certainly identify as middle class), but then he went on to say 'anyone.' Perhaps he thinks the world drops off after the middle class ends or something

I think hiring Tomas was one of the better things Tom ever did.

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Last edited by fashionista-ta; 06-01-2011 at 07:46 PM.
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07-01-2011
  26
no tom ford, no thanks.
 
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^that's another discussion in an of itself....some of the most genius strokes in tom ford's career came in his appointments of creative directors at the various houses the gucci group acquired. from stella mccartney and alexander mcqueen to nicolas ghesquiere and tomas maier, he really gave some of the best talents great platforms from which to extol their visions.

and i watched some show on canadian television where an hermes' executive went on about how their store had something for 'every customer' because they had playing cards (or some such) for $50. at least tomas maier is being honest about the type of customer he wants.

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29-09-2011
  27
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US Bazaar October 2011



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29-09-2011
  28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeijames View Post

and with $550 being less than the bi-weekly paycheck of a minimum wage worker, he has a point about middle class people -- who earn several times that -- being able to afford these things. i know people who spend more filling their boat for the weekend.
hm? yes if the minimum wage worker is able to work more than 40 hours a week.

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19-01-2012
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Zeit Magazine #4





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21-01-2012
  30
V.I.P.
 
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US ELLE Dec 2011
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