It's hard to believe that not long ago, Bottega Veneta was a brand struggling to survive in the world of luxury. Today, it is one of the brands that defines the new direction of men's and women's fashion. The current climate is perfect for the brand: a revaluation of craftsmanship, a taste for handmade pieces, and the resurgence of simplicity and understated luxury.
Bottega Veneta's journey is defined by consistency and loyalty to its values: no logos or grand displays, prioritizing technique over extravagance. The meticulous quality of each piece, starting with their famous Bottega Veneta intrecciato bags, speaks for itself. The intrecciato technique, a form of leather weaving to enhance durability, is a trademark of the brand. The name of the brand stands, in Italian, for “Venetian store”.
Founded by Renzo Zengiaro and Michele Taddei in 1966, the duo of Italian entrepreneurs turned necessity into a virtue. Starting with machinery that could only work with low-density fabrics, they decided to use ultra-thin leather so that their fibers could function with the machinery. The result is one of the most recognizable and emulated materials and craftsmanship techniques in the world.
However, their beginning was not easy. What is now hailed as one of the leaders of the international fashion scene suffered the consequences of the maximalism of the 70s and 80s to the point of crisis. Their ethos of simplicity and technique over participating in the flashes of color and excess of their time led them to abandon their brand and leave it in the hands of Michele's ex-wife, Laura Moltedo. Laura outlined a plan of consistency and continuity, maintaining the brand's ethics and technology until the ideal climate arrived for the brand to flourish.
With connections to the global elite, including a short film directed by Andy Warhol at one point, the brand gradually carved out a niche in the industry. At that time, their reserved and discreet philosophy was their biggest handicap, causing few outside specific circles to know the brand. So, to expand their possibilities, they relaunched their ready-to-wear with a wider range of clothing and accessories. The creative Giles Deacon, known in the industry for his versatility, was in charge of the ready-to-wear line.
In 2001, Gucci acquired a significant portion of Bottega Veneta and embarked on a profound reform of the brand. The appointment of Tomas Maier, who oversaw the brand's ready-to-wear until 2018, became an operation to reclaim the brand's identity. It was not until 2005 that the brand presented its first clothing collection, focusing its attention on the brand's accessories during this time. The famous Bottega Veneta basket bag was born during this period, establishing one of the most iconic silhouettes of the house. The intrecciato technique became omnipresent, reviving the brand from its bankruptcy.
Maier also founded a school to educate the future craftsmen of the brand, called Scuola della Pelletteria. Bottega Veneta clothing then entered a relative spring, experiencing ups and downs until the pivotal turn of its creative direction in 2018. Daniel Lee was appointed, focusing on connecting the brand with younger generations and the mainstream through more colorful and eye-catching pieces and campaigns. With the support of the Kering group, the young creative brought the brand to stardom with his perfect balance between the brand's essence and the needs of popular culture. And in 2021, his successor Matthieu Blazy took his work several steps further: simplifying the brand's ready-to-wear and reinforcing the artisanal aspect of their bags in a time of revaluation of handmade craftsmanship.
Combined with a Mediterranean image and a more rejuvenated communication, the brand remains at the forefront of top brands with a level of accessibility and mystery that was not present in its beginnings. The popularization of intrecciato and Bottega's silhouettes is in full swing, marking the new directions of the current fashion industry.