'To show your weakness is also a strength': The film features potent insight from Neneh Cherry, Tricky, and more

Following this year’s unique and unprecedented fashion month, we may be yearning for the familiar ambiance of an in-person fashion show without the threat of mass infection. However, we can’t deny that the pandemic has forced designers to push the boundaries of the high fashion world in ways that are compelling, insightful, and progressive. Bottega Veneta is no exception.

The Italian luxury brand’s creative director Daniel Lee, in collaboration with filmmaker and photographer Tyrone Lebon, has released a short film that explores identity, masculinity, and expression in an abstract and innovative way. The cast includes an eclectic array of musicians, dancers, and other creatives who discuss their relationship with masculinity and clothing while modeling a variety of Bottega Veneta pieces. And with such a diverse cast, representation becomes a guiding theme throughout the film as well; it features actors that differ in age, race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

But what is perhaps the most groundbreaking element of the piece is the deliberate separation of “masculinity” from gender. Instead, Lee links the concept of masculinity much more to attitude and expression, and he solidifies this idea by featuring musician Neneh Cherry. The film concludes with a moving account from a young boy who admits he hasn’t given much thought to binary gender as it applies to him. All of this is to say that we’re in the middle of category breakdown. Evolution and transformation are the orders of the day, and Bottega Veneta urges us to explore them.