Ju­bilee Sea­son

Bot­tega Veneta’s suc­cess rests firmly on the in­tri­cately wo­ven shoul­ders of the In­trec­ciato range

Augustman - - Behind The Seams - WORDS DAR­REN HO PHOTOS BOT­TEGA VENETA

MOST OF US have read Ae­sop’s Fables at some point in life, or had it read to us. One of those sto­ries is about an ex­as­per­ated fa­ther and his quarelling sons. To teach them a les­son about unity, he gave them a bun­dle of sticks and told them to break it; all failed. When the bun­dle was un­done, each stick eas­ily snapped.

Chil­dren’s tales don’t usu­ally have much to do with fash­ion per se but in the case of Bot­tega Veneta’s his­tory, present and fu­ture, there’s ac­tu­ally an el­e­ment of ref­er­ence. We’re re­fer­ring of course to the In­trec­ciato range, which lit­er­ally trans­lates to “braided” in English. It’s the source of Bot­tega Veneta’s in­spi­ra­tion for found­ing the mai­son 50 years ago, and has been sus­tained for the last five decades. If cre­ative di­rec­tor To­mas Maier has any­thing to say about it, the style will con­tinue to live on in the brand for eter­nity.

The brand’s pop­u­lar­ity surged dur­ing the ’70s and early ’80s with its pro­mo­tion of stealth wealth, do­ing away with la­bels and bla­tant brand­ing, which made it well-re­ceived by the dis­creet rich. When Bot­tega Veneta was ac­quired by the Ker­ing Group in 2001, the brand hired To­mas Maier to lead the brand and thor­oughly re­vi­talise it. The first thing he did was to re­vive that idea of time­less and quiet lux­ury. The In­trec­ciato tech­nique be­came the cor­ner­stone of that work.

Leather goods are cen­tral to the suc­cess of most lux­ury fash­ion houses. Maier needed to de­velop a new prod­uct that would at once be a clas­sic and a stylish ob­ject, and he took ref­er­ence from a de­sign clas­sic ‒ the rat­tan shopping bag or beach bag that was pop­u­lar in the era. But in­stead of rat­tan, he el­e­vated the shop­per with the use of In­trec­ciato leather, which in part re­in­forces the bag to make it in­cred­i­bly sturdy, just like the bun­dle of sticks in Ae­sop’s Fables. How­ever, he also wanted it to be ex­tremely sup­ple, and so he ex­per­i­mented with dif­fer­ent leather types to cre­ate dif­fer­ent styles of the Ca­bat, as it came to be known.

Ac­cord­ing to Bot­tega Veneta, there are many ma­te­ri­als used for the Ca­bat as well as spe­cific crafts­man­ship for any new sea­sonal ver­sion. Sea­son by sea­son it has been as­so­ci­ated with a new evo­lu­tion of the Bot­tega Veneta man, while re­main­ing a mem­o­rable icon. Ex­tremely sup­ple and thinly cut nappa is used for women’s col­lec­tions for ev­ery sea­son in sea­sonal col­ors, while most pre­cious ver­sions in­clude croc­o­dile in dif­fer­ent fin­ish­ing, karung or os­trich.

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