Since its founding in 1966, Bottega Veneta has been producing leather goods in the small northern Italian city of Vicenza, where artisans make handcrafted bags and other accessories using a centuries-old technique called intrecciato, weaving strips of leather into a tightly crosshatched pattern. Refined yet durable, the interlocking motif came to signify discreet luxury. In 2001, when the German designer Tomas Maier arrived as the brand’s creative director, the fashion industry was at the height of It bag mania and the accompanying obsession with monograms, flashy hardware and other embellishments. But Maier was determined to protect Bottega’s bags from trends. Shortly after his appointment, he came across a rounded box clutch circa 1978 in the archives and decided to make it his own, swapping out its rectangular clasp for one shaped like a nautical rope and naming the curvy pochette Knot. Since spring 2002, most seasons have included iterations of the clutch, which has been reimagined in an array of materials, colors and sizes.
Last November, Matthieu Blazy, who had been overseeing ready-to-wear at Bottega since 2020, took over as artistic director. For his fall 2022 debut, the 38-year-old designer — a French and Belgian national who previously worked at Calvin Klein, Celine and Maison Margiela — took inspiration from Umberto Boccioni’s 1913 Futurist sculpture “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space.” “Bottega Veneta is, in essence, pragmatic,” Blazy said in the show notes. “Because it specializes in bags, it is about movement … there is fundamentally an idea of craft in motion.” Not surprisingly, intrecciato showed up in many of Blazy’s creations, including over-the-knee boots, miniskirts, bucket totes, chunky belts and driving loafers — and, notably, his reinterpretation of that now-iconic clutch. Blazy’s foulard Knot is composed of interwoven strips of paper-thin calf leather, with a slightly softer silhouette than the original and a twisted, brass-toned clasp. The hypertextured bag, which comes in onyx and bone, is unmistakably Bottega — synonymous, said Blazy, with “style over fashion in its timelessness.”
Photo assistant: Nathaniel Jerome. Set designer’s assistant: Sam Salisbury