Tomas Maier, the creative director and head designer of the Italian fashion label Bottega Veneta, is one of those people who want to erase every fault in their range of sight. He describes himself as someone who "can't get happy." In his thirties, he corrected the asymmetry of his first and last names by editing the "h" out of Thomas.
Maier is fifty-three, and has the aspect of a hipster monk: hair shaved to dots on his scalp; grooved, hollow cheeks; watchful blue eyes; a thin-lipped mouth set in a down-curving line. Speaking with a heavy German accent-Maier grew up in the Black Forest-he invited me to make myself comfortable at the room's only seating space: a strict-looking metal table in the center of the room, where a tray held a single bottle of chilled mineral water and two glasses. He was wearing black jeans, a black polo shirt, and a suit jacket of his own design: a black piece with a rolled Neapolitan shoulder, narrow armholes, and a nipped-in waist that seemed to yank its wearer into a soldierly posture. Marc Jacobs, the creative director at Louis Vuitton, says that he wears one of Maier's sunglasses whenever he is obliged to dress up. "I was immediately attracted to it when I saw a photo," Jacobs told me. "When I wear it, people, even in fashion, always say, 'Where are those sunglasses from?' "