Where in the United States can you get Superman ice cream at a party store, drive south to get to Canada, and set cheese on fire is a cause for celebration? That would be Detroit, Michigan: a humble Midwestern city where two Coney Islands are famously locked in an everlasting rivalry and an entire city block is a renowned found art destination. Over the past century, the Motor City has seen its share of ups and downs, but today it is in the midst of a cultural renaissance—and the fashion world is taking note. Bottega Veneta’s Salon series just presented its new collection in Detroit, and creative director Daniel Lee worked with locals to produce a show worthy of its Motown inspiration at the historic Michigan Theatre.
“I wanted to shine a spotlight on Detroit so people can see what greatness is here,” Lee told WWD. He noted that Detroit’s grit reminded him of Manchester in England, praising the city as the “industrial heartland of America.” But Detroit, like Manchester, is also the birthplace of electronic music, and Lee paid homage to the the city’s techno culture with acid chartreuse knits and reflective contrast striping. Baggy silhouettes in shades of cobalt blue and Kelly green recalled cold Michigan nights queued outside of abandoned motor warehouses which, until recently, were the rave venues of choice.
Nowadays, Detroit’s cachet is evident in well-known artists and cultural touchstones from the area. DJ Moodymann provided the show’s disco and sample-heavy soundtrack, while Mary J. Blige, who singularly carried Motown’s musical legacy into the new millennium, sat front row. She wore a dramatic red coat with plumes resembling feathers from the Italian house (Kering, Bottega’s parent company, recently announced that all of their brands will be fur-free as of 2022), while rapper Lil’ Kim wore a violet coat-dress with patent leather knee-highs and acid yellow shoes. Blige and Lil’ Kim are both native New Yorkers, as is model Lourdes Leon who walked the runway. But Leon’s appearance was a bit of a nod to her mother Madonna’s hometown.
Bottega Veneta was also keen to highlight the creatives working in the city today. For the occasion, Lee also opened a pop-up shop in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, which will sell Bottega goods as well as small art pieces, vinyl records, and printed works from local artisans. And if you’re lucky enough to find yourself shopping at the pop-up, be sure to grab a table at the nearby restaurant Slows—it’s one of the best BBQ places you’ll ever visit.