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