Bottega Veneta's Fashion Evolution
Luxury goods brand Bottega Veneta, was established in 1966 and built its business on the singular handbag – tightly woven strips of leather, all still crafted in Italy by hand. The bags have always retained a certain exclusivity whereas comparable brands Louis Vuitton, Fendi or Gucci are copied or ‘knocked off’ around the globe and sold on market stalls at hugely deflated prices.
In 2000, British designer Giles Deacon was introduced to the brand’s chief, Laura Moltedo by the stylist Katie Grand. He lent his design expertise to the brand’s accessories, then in 2001 the company launched a ready-to-wear line. This was a great success, with Deacon’s flair able to compete with the top fashion brands. Although critics noted it was a more discrete vision that the avant-garde pieces he'd produced under his own name. Tom Ford, then creative director at Gucci, persuaded the Gucci Group to buy Bottega Veneta. He then poached Deacon to join his own staff at Gucci and installed German designer Tomas Maier at the helm. Season on season Maier’s collection have been well received, his signature being pared down and restrained shapes. His technical skill in draping, napkin folding and tucking the fabric of his garments is very much in evidence, as is his confidence in knowing when to stop. Although the cut of the fabric may be intricate his designs are otherwise unembellished and he tends to follow the colour scheme of blacks and dark neutrals such as navy, stone and camel in Autumn Winter and white, stone and cream in Spring Summer. This demonstrates his canny understanding of his market – the grown up women with the budget to indulge in his wares will not necessarily choose to ‘invest’ in something covered in fripperies that will look best on a teenager.