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Bottega Veneta (translated as “Venetian shop”) is a luxury fashion house that was established in 1966 by Michele Taddei and Renzo Zengiaro. Best known for its leather goods, Bottega Veneta developed their own weaving method, called “intrecciato,” that crosses the leather in a braid-like pattern. This interwoven design would become the brand’s trademark. It was the beautifully handcrafted designs and the quality of their materials, which were further accentuated by an unassuming and logo-less design, that gained Bottega Veneta notoriety in those early years.
Co-founder Renzo Zengiaro left Bottega Veneta in the late 1970s, with Michele Taddei following suit a few years later. Taddei’s ex-wife, Laura Moltedo, and her husband Vittorio moved from the States to Italy to take ownership of the company.
The decade of the 1980s saw the rise of Bottega Veneta’s popularity among celebrities around the world. Andy Warhol was one of Bottega Veneta’s most fervent fans, and the famous artist even made a short film to advertise the brand. But despite these efforts, the company took a financial downturn. In response, Bottega Veneta changed its design in the 1990s to one that more directly reflected the trends of the time.
The Gucci Group bought Bottega Veneta in 2001, with German fashion designer Tomas Maier as the company’s new Creative Director. He presented his first collection that year as the brand’s 2002 Spring/Summer Collection. Formerly affiliated with prestigious fashion houses Sonia Rykiel and Hermès, Maier brought his vast experience to Bottega Veneta and worked to restore the brand’s original and distinctive identity. To bring this about, Maier made the decision to strip any visible logos from products and include more of the brand’s original handcrafted work, including the intrecciato weave that formerly characterized the brand. These changes worked and the Bottega Veneta company, and image, was revived.
Bottega Veneta began introducing new additions to its existing lines, including fine jewelry and fragrance as well as handbags, small leather goods, shoes, gifts, and even home furniture. In 2005, the company released a women’s ready-to-wear line — the brand’s first — and followed it up with a men’s line in 2006. That same year, the company opened the Scuola della Pelletteria, a training school with the purpose of supporting the dwindling number of leatherworkers dedicated to the art of handcrafted design. It is from this school that the brand will select future leather artisans for Bottega Veneta.
Though Bottega Veneta offers an assortment of clothing, fragrances, and home furnishings, their leather goods remain the company’s specialty. Bottega Veneta handbags, with their quintessential interwoven straps of leather, are considered by many as the height of sophistication.