To the untrained eye, there is nothing particularly remarkable about Bottega Veneta. Its designs are softly spoken and unobtrusive in comparison to the din of more extroverted, logo-clad brands such as Gucci and Balenciaga, yet its quiet luxury has captured the imagination of the fashion crowd in a way that few other brands have managed. In the span of one year, this heritage Italian brand has become both the hottest name to know and the new uniform of the industry's supremely polished army.
Things changed for the brand after Daniel Lee was appointed creative director in 2018. The response to his first collection was monumental and the brand was quickly catapulted into the spotlight, with retailers struggling to keep up with demand. His premium approach to minimalism has been widely embraced by industry folk and the public alike, which is no mean feat considering Bottega's clutch bags come with a four-figure price tag.
The numbers don't lie: According to fashion analysis platform Lyst, the brand’s padded sandals are officially the hottest women’s shoes in the world right now, being responsible for over 27,000 online searches a month last quarter. Meanwhile, searches for Bottega Veneta shoes in general spiked 156% during September’s spring/summer 2020 fashion shows. Also, let's not forget the four nominations and subsequent awards Lee has received for the 2019 Fashion Awards, including accessory designer of the year and overall brand of the year. In an age of fast fashion and style clickbait, this is seriously impressive.
So what's the appeal? We can't ignore the fact that the brand's star has risen alongside last year's minimalist renaissance, but unlike some of the more austere offerings, Bottega always manages to add a detail here or a colourway there to hold our interest and separate itself from the crowd. It's this combination of classic yet current, luxurious yet accessible that makes its appeal so potent. “Daniel Lee has brought a fresh perspective and sense of modernity to the house," explains Cassie Smart, Head of Womenswear Buying at MATCHESFASHION.com. "His reinterpretation of classic design elements is exciting for new customers in addition to the longstanding fans of the brands.”
Add to this the fact that people are becoming increasingly mindful of their consumption, meaning that suddenly those transient, OTT designer buys are looking a little less appealing. Instead, fashion lovers are looking for quality, longevity and a sense of exclusivity, something that some designer brands have arguably lost in recent years.
No place was this style phenomenon more evident than on the pavements of fashion week. Not only was every other person clutching one of Bottega's oversize leather totes, but there were countless showgoers who clad themselves head-to-toe in the brand: Leather shorts with a skinny-knit top and a quilted coat with colour-pop boots. It was a proper Bottega lovefest. We scoured the street style and found too many Bottega street style shots to include in this article, but these are some of our favourites. Scroll down to see how the style set championed the brand of the year…