A Classic Clutch With a New Twist


Bottega Veneta began in 1966 as a leather-goods company based in the Italian town of Vicenza, focused on quiet sophistication and meticulous craftsmanship. Nearly a decade later, the brand debuted a collection of handbags, made by artisans in the Veneto region, using a centuries-old weaving method called intrecciato, meaning “intertwined.” That style — which involves interlocking long, fettuccine-thin strips of leather into a braided pattern that resembles a lattice pie crust — quickly became the leitmotif of the house, known for refraining from logos altogether. In the ’80s, Lauren Hutton carried one of its intrecciato clutches in “American Gigolo” (1980), and Andy Warhol, who often turned to Bottega for his Christmas shopping, was photographed holding up a braided loafer in a department store. (The artist was such a fan of the brand that he produced a short film for the company in 1985.) To teach future artisans the intrecciato method, which takes up to three years of training to master, Bottega partnered with the Scuola d’Arte e Mestieri in Vicenza, an institution devoted to handmaking crafts such as leather goods.

In 2018, when the English designer Daniel Lee, now 35, took over the house as creative director, he immediately began playing with the brand’s heritage and house codes: For his runway debut, he presented maxi intrecciato totes with blown-up proportions. And for his latest collection, Salon 02, he introduced the Classic, an oversize nappa clutch with exaggerated tassels crafted using another woven leather technique, the torchon, an artisanal hand-weave that requires an entire day’s work to complete. Riffing on archival patterns like intrecciato, the hypertextured bag — which recalls a nautical rope artfully coiled into the shape of a purse — comes in cobalt, fluorescent pink, black and beige, and is once again, like those before it, distinctively Bottega, without logos. For the creative director, who keeps a low profile himself, the bag is in step with the house’s founding ethos: that being discreet makes you all the more desirable.

Retouching: Anonymous Retouch. Digital tech: Chase Gunner. Photo assistant: Karl Leitz