Tomas Maier (born 1957) is a German-born designer who is Creative Director at the Italian luxury lifestyle brand Bottega Veneta, which is part of Kering. He is the most important German designer after Karl Lagerfeld.
Background and training
Born in April 1957 in Pforzheim, Germany, at the edge of the Black Forest, Maier was raised in a family of architects and attended a Waldorf school as a child. From there he headed to Paris, where he trained at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. His professional experience includes designing for some of the most prestigious fashion and luxury goods houses in France, Italy, and Germany, including Guy Laroche, Sonia Rykiel, where he designed men’s wear for eight years, and Revillon, where he spent four years as creative director. For nine years, Maier was a women’s ready-to-wear designer at Hermès, where he also designed some leather goods and accessories. By 1999, he quit all his contracts and moved to Florida.
Maier has presided over an extensive but deliberate expansion of the Bottega Veneta brand. He presented his first collection, which consisted solely of accessories, in September 2001, just a few months after being hired. Before embarking on a broader mission, he constituted the core values of Bottega Veneta, which he calls “the four cornerstones”: fine-quality materials, extraordinary craftsmanship, contemporary functionality, and timeless design. The Cabat was introduced by Tomas Maier in his first collection and was designed to represent each of these core values, since becoming one of the label’s top selling items. Maier also affirmed that Bottega Veneta would return to its logo-less heritage, conveyed in the famous slogan, “When your own initials are enough.”
Using those principles as a roadmap, Maier has grown Bottega Veneta into the luxury lifestyle brand that it is today. In the first two years, Bottega Veneta opened flagship stores in London, Paris, Milan, and New York, and added a small selection of women’s and men’s ready-to-wear pieces to the seasonal presentations. The first women’s ready-to-wear show took place in February 2005 and the first men’s runway show was held in June 2006. Among the product categories that Bottega Veneta now offers, in addition to full women’s and men’s ready-to-wear collections, are accessories, fine jewelry, furniture, seating, tabletop, desktop, luggage, porcelain, eyewear, fragrance and watches. To help perpetuate the traditions that define the brand, the company founded an unusual artisan school, La Scuola della Pelleteria, in Vicenza in 2006. And for those who desire full immersion in the Bottega Veneta lifestyle, St. Regis Hotels in Rome, Florence and Park Hyatt Hotel in Chicago offers a handful of exclusive, one-of-a-kind Bottega Veneta suites.
The Tomas Maier label was established in 1997, with business partner Andrew Preston, and an online boutique was launched in 1998. Since then, three eponymous stores have opened in Florida and the Hamptons. The collection is sold at over 100 stores in more than 30 countries around the world. On 19 November 2013, Kering announced it is investing in Tomas Maier's own label to "infusing it with the capital needed to ramp up expansion, including the addition of more company-owned boutiques". As of November 2013[update], the private label generated about $10 million in revenue annually from swimwear, knitwear, and jersey.
- 2004: GQ Germany Award – Man of the Year in the Fashion International Category
- 2006: US Luxury Institute Award – The Most Prestigious Women’s Luxury Fashion Brand for Bottega Veneta
- 2006: London Walpole Award – Best International Brand for Bottega Veneta
- 2007: German Forum Preis Award from TextilWirschaft – Creativity and Excellence in Design
- 2007: FGI “Rule Breakers” Award
- 2007: Elle Style Hong Kong Award – Best International Accessories Designer
- 2007 DNR Award - Designer of the Year
- 2007: Wallpaper Award – Best Library for Bottega Veneta library table
- 2009: ACE Award – Designer of the Year
- 2012: Accademia del Profumo – Best Olfactory Brand and Best Italian Brand for Bottega Veneta Parfum
- Socha, Miles (19 November 2013). "Kering Takes Stake in Tomas Maier Brand". WWD. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Article in the Zeit about Tomas Maier
- "Bottega Veneta RTW Spring 2014". WWD. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- John Colapinto (January 3, 2011), Profiles: Tomas Maier - Just Have LessNew Yorker.
- "Tomas Maier". Net-A-Porter. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
- "Background". Tomas Maier's own website. Retrieved 12 February 2010.