Bottega Veneta is an Italian luxury goods and high fashion brand house best known for its leather goods which are sold worldwide and its men's and women's ready-to-wear. Founded in 1966 in Vicenza, Veneto of northeastern Italy, its atelier is located within an 18th-century villa in Montebello Vicentino and its headquarters is in Lugano, Switzerland with offices in Milan and Vicenza, Italy. In 2001, Bottega Veneta was purchased by Gucci Group, and is now a part of the French multinational group Kering. In September 2016, it was announced that Claus-Dietrich Lahrs would be named CEO, replacing Carlo Beretta.
Bottega Veneta was established in 1966 in Vicenza, Italy by entrepreneurs Michele Taddei and Renzo Zengiaro. Michele Taddei was then married to Laura Braggion who developed the company alongside him. Years later, after Michele Taddei would leave and Vittorio and Laura Moltedo (Laura had previously been married to Taddei) took over the brand.
The company which is born from the name was "Venetian Shop" in Italian was founded with the producing artisanal leather goods. The company developed a distinctive leather weave design, called intrecciato, that was used on the exterior of many of its products, and became widely associated with the Bottega Veneta brand.
Intrecciato was the starting point for Bottega Veneta’s evolution, and continues to be one of the most recognizable elements of the brand.
In the 1970s, the company began advertising with the tag line “When your own initials are enough". By the early 1980s, Bottega Veneta was a favorite of the international jet set, with clients including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the empress Farah Pahlavi. Andy Warhol made a short film for the company in 1980. Zengiaro and Taddei retired from the company in the 1990s.
During the 1980s, Bottega Veneta’s fortunes began to decline. In a miscue, the company changed its image and began emblazoning a BV logo on its products. In February 2001, the struggling company was acquired by Gucci Group for $156 million. Tom Ford, then Gucci Group's Creative Director, hired Tomas Maier, who had previously worked at Sonia Rykiel and Hermès, as Bottega Veneta's Creative Director in June of that year.
After receiving total creative control from product and store design to advertising, Tomas Maier set about returning the brand to its original identity. He removed visible logos from the brand’s products, highlighted the signature intrecciato weave, and returned the company’s focus to artisanal production. Vogue described the change of image as an emerging example of “stealth wealth.” Bottega Veneta presented its first women’s ready-to-wear runway show in February 2005 and its first men’s runway show in June 2006. In April 2006, the company launched its first jewelry line and branched out into interiors and furniture design.
In September 2016, the Bottega Veneta celebrated its 50-year anniversary as a company at its annual fashion show at the Brera Academy in Milan. The event also celebrated Tomas Maier's 15th year as creative director.
Bottega Veneta collaborates with notable photographers on its advertising campaigns such as, in the company's "Art of Collaboration" series, Jürgen Teller (Fall 2015), Robert Longo (Fall 2010), and Nan Goldin (Spring 2010).
In 2012, Bottega Veneta published its first book to celebrate its history and craftsmanship. The book is the result of a collaborative effort between Maier himself, book designer Sam Shahid, and others in fashion journalism. Fashion editors contributed to each chapter by describing Maier's designs of handbags, small leather goods, luggage, shoes, women's ready-to-wear, jewelry, men's ready-to-wear, furniture, home accessories, watches, and fragrances. The book discusses the handcrafted production of Bottega Veneta's luxury goods and features their signature intrecciato weave design, including an intrecciato slip-cover. A second book detailing the "Art of Collaboration" project was published in October 2015.
In 2013, Bottega Veneta inaugurated its new atelier in Montebello Vicentino. The complex, restored and constructed with an eye to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines, was overseen by Maier. Maier has said that keeping Bottega Veneta's operations in Vicenza is essential to maintaining the traditions and ideals of the brand.
The atelier is also the new home to La Scuola dei Maestri Pellettieri di Bottega Veneta, the company’s school for training its employees, as well as the Bottega Veneta archives and museum. Originally started in the summer of 2006, Bottega Veneta opened the school to train and support future generations of leather artisans in recognition of the importance of artisanal craftsmanship and the diminishing number of master leatherworkers in Italy. Its students must complete three-year courses in the classroom before they are allowed to work in the atelier proper. In the introduction to Bottega Veneta's 2012 book, Maier wrote that "it would be a profound loss if the knowledge and cultural wealth embodied in artisanal crafts were to vanish. Such know-how carries within it precious threads of individual creativity and human history." La Scuola dei Maestri Pellettieri di Bottega Veneta also collaborated with The University IUAV of Venice to design a post-graduate course in handbag design and product development. The course provided students with professional-level experience in multiple sectors of the industry, from the beginning of the design process, through manufacturing and production, and to the sale of products in a Bottega Veneta store.
Distribution of Bottega Veneta products is global, encompassing Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and North America. Bottega Veneta owns 251 boutiques in 43 countries.
In September 2013, Bottega Veneta unveiled its first "Maison," within a historical building on Milan's Via Sant'Andrea. The 11,448 square-foot boutique is the first to house all of the brand's products, including its leather goods, men's and women's ready-to-wear, shoes, fine jewelry, eyewear, fragrance, luggage, furniture and home collections. The company plans to open another "Maison," on a similar scale, in New York. In 2015, Bottega Veneta announced the opening of a first dedicated home boutique in Italy, Via Borgospesso in Milan. Located within the 18th-century Palazzo Gallarati Scotti, the 2207 square-foot ground floor boutique has been designed by Bottega Veneta Creative Director Tomas Maier to present its furniture, lighting, tabletop, and home decoration. Bottega Veneta opened their second Maison in Beverly Hills in May 2016.