Bottega Veneta has been a top player in the fashion industry for decades, with the instantly recognizable Intrecciato weave, a devoted fanbase, and a reputation for well-made luxury. But the last several years have been explosive for the Italian brand -- a new creative director, new designs, and an updated look for classic Intrecciato styles have made Bottega Veneta one of the most desired brands of the early 2020s. Today we look at the evolution of Bottega Veneta, their most iconic pieces, and why you should shop luxury resale for all your Bottega needs.
A Brief History of Bottega Veneta
Bottega Veneta was founded in 1966 in Vicenza, Italy. Literally translating to “Venetian shop,” Bottega Veneta began as a purveyor of artisanal leather goods. In the early 1970s, the stunning Intrecciato technique was developed when the fashion house’s sewing machines couldn’t accommodate thick leathers, forcing the artisans to use a more pliable leather that they then reinforced by handweaving. The Intrecciato weave quickly became the brand’s signature. Prioritizing craftsmanship and quality leathers over flashy labels and logos, Bottega Veneta adopted the slogan “When your own initials are enough”. This devotion to well-made minimalism made the brand popular among discerning luxury lovers. In the 1980 film American Gigolo Lauren Hutton’s character carries a Bottega Veneta Intrecciato clutch bag, and in 1985 Andy Warhol made a promotional film for the company titled Bottega Veneta Industrial Videotape. Bottega Veneta was firmly established as an international luxury brand.
Tomas Maier and the Cabat Bag
In the late 1990s, Bottega Veneta floundered in the changing fashion landscape, which favored a logo-heavy maximalism. In 2001 German designer Tomas Maier was appointed as creative director. Before Bottega, Maier had worked for luxury brands like Sonia Rykiel and Hermès, and had his own line of women’s swimwear. Maier’s design philosophy was one of simplicity -- he wanted to remove extraneous parts of an item until it reached what he referred to as “a certain nothingness”. With this in mind, Maier took Bottega Veneta back to the original ethos of the brand.
Maier designed the Cabat, a tote bag with no logos or hardware. Meticulously handcrafted from Intrecciato woven leather, each Cabat bag can only be made by a single artisan since each person pulls at a different tension. The Cabat bag was an instant hit. Rather than continually introduce a new bag every season, Maier put the Cabat bag on the runway year after year. By rejecting the constant restyling of the typical It Bag and focusing instead on the expertise of the craftsmanship and the beauty of the materials, Maier elevated Bottega Veneta to a unique status among luxury brands. In addition to the Cabat, Bottega Veneta’s Knot clutch, Veneta Hobo bag, and other accessories showed off the gorgeous Intrecciato weave in a variety of fine leathers and exotic skins. In 2006, Vogue referred to Maier’s Bottega Veneta as “twenty-first-century no-logo stealth-wealth,” a designation that perfectly describes the understated elegance of the Italian fashion house.
Daniel Lee and #NewBottega
In 2018 Tomas Maier stepped down as creative director and Daniel Lee took the helm. The British designer had worked for Phoebe Philo era Celine before coming to Bottega Veneta, and quickly put his own spin on the luxury brand. Lee stated that while “maintaining the ingrained codes of the house, craftsmanship, quality, and sophistication,” he also wanted to “evolve what has gone before, while contributing a new perspective and modernity.” The Bottega Veneta of the last several years keeps the brand’s heritage alive while experimenting with color, construction, and form. The result has proven to be irresistible.
Deemed “New Bottega”, the Daniel Lee-led Bottega Veneta introduced several iconic bags. The Pouch, an oversized clutch bag with voluminous folds, transforms the brand’s minimalist ethos into an entirely new silhouette. The Cassette bag, first introduced on the Fall 2019 Runway, is crafted from a maxi orthogonal weave that harkens back to the beloved Intrecciato. And the Jodie bag, a hobo with an updated Intrecciato weave and knotted strap, brings the classic Bottega to a new generation.
In addition to these bags, Bottega Veneta’s other pieces keep them at the forefront of 2020s fashion. The lug sole Tire boots were among the hottest products of 2020, and the Intrecciato woven Lido mule sandals arguably kickstarted the 90s-era square toe shoe revival.
Daniel Lee left Bottega Veneta in November 2021, and Matthieu Blazy, who worked with Lee at the Italian fashion house, was appointed the new creative director. Blazy was previously a head designer at Maison Margiela, and, like Lee, worked under Phoebe Philo at Celine before coming to Bottega Veneta. Will Blazy continue the “New Bottega” aesthetic, or will something else emerge under his tenure? Regardless of the outcome, we are excited to see how the iconic Intrecciato will evolve.
Why to Buy Bottega Veneta on Resale
Whether you favor the classic Intrecciato or the #NewBottega, shopping fashion resale is the best way to get your hands on your dream bag. With vintage, pre-owned, and new items coming in daily, Luxury Garage Sale has every era of Bottega Veneta. Browse our ever-growing selection, or contact a personal shopper.