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  • Writer's pictureSavannah Bradley

We’re Obsessed with the Little Book of Bottega Veneta

And we talked to Frances Solá-Santiago about how it came to be.

 

L-R: Bottega Veneta SS24, Pre-Fall 2023, and FW22

THE LITTLE BOOK OF… series is very near and dear to my heart. Published by Welbeck (now Hachette), these mini-histories on brands like Gucci, Givenchy, Prada, Dior, and even Vivienne Westwood are not only incredibly well-researched but are subtly bridging the fashion education gap. (This reads like PR fluff, but it’s true — I’ve read the Prada book at least thrice).


Released earlier this month, Frances Solá-Santiago’s THE LITTLE BOOK OF BOTTEGA VENETA joined the series — and thank god it did. Bottega Veneta has always been somewhat of a dark horse against the larger houses, due to its slick edge, love of aesthetic transmutation, and deeply Italian sense of style and substance. To this day, the brand is one of the few labels that innovates and surprises with consistency and without pretense — and has some of the best marketing in the world


For HALOSCOPE, we sat down with the NYC-based Solá-Santiago and asked her about how the Little Book came to be.


Bottega Veneta SS98 Campaign

SEB: I’m curious about the genesis of the book — as well as your personal genesis as a writer. Take me to the beginning. 


FSS: For me, it all started with The Hills on MTV. I’m from Puerto Rico, where fashion is not much of an industry, so I had no idea that I could make a career in this industry until I watched Lauren Conrad in her internship at Teen Vogue. That was my entry into fashion, and although I first wanted to become a designer, I eventually settled for fashion journalism. I went to school for journalism in Puerto Rico and later moved to New York to do my master’s degree at the City University of New York, where I focused on fashion reporting. The path to the book and my current job is a bit complicated — I’ve worked in everything from video to content marketing to pay the bills, while focusing on getting freelance assignments in fashion on the side. I landed my job in 2021, which was a dream role for me. 


I was actually commissioned the book by Welbeck Publishing, since it’s part of their Little Book series. I truly thought it was a scam when I first saw the email, but it thankfully was a great surprise. I chose to write one on Bottega Veneta because it’s one of the most impactful luxury brands today, yet there isn’t much written about the history of the brand. I saw it as a good opportunity to dive into its heritage and highlight what makes it such a relevant brand today. 


SEB: What draws you to Bottega Veneta as a brand? 


FSS: I think Bottega Veneta is one of the few luxury brands that can really hold craftsmanship as one of its main pillars. Every creative director has really made that the core of the brand, even if they’ve expanded into other categories beyond leather goods. I’m also really drawn to the idea of having no logos, but letting your signature weave speak for itself. It’s something that each creative director has reinterpreted for themselves and I’m so eager to see how it evolves. 


Bottega Veneta FW20 Campaign

SEB: With [evolving] in mind — Bottega Veneta has become a dominant cultural force and has radically shaped the luxury landscape across the past few years, consistently topping the LYST Index since 2019. What do you attribute that massive sea change to?


FSS: Daniel Lee’s tenure was absolutely pivotal to this. His ability to grasp internet culture and the fashion industry at the same time really made the brand a must-have. For years, Bottega Veneta was known as a stealth-wealth brand (not in a TikTok-quiet luxury way, though), and that came with an almost unapproachable aura. Tomas Maier, who helped the brand until 2018, was not really interested in creating “It” bags or more culturally relevant moments — so when Lee stepped in with a different approach, that really changed the narrative for the brand. 


SEB: Speaking of narratives…  the Jodi bag has quickly become synonymous with the brand itself, under the creative direction of former CD Daniel Lee. You mention that part of the selling point is the bag’s youthful spirit. In your opinion, do you see that spirit across the rest of the Bottega Veneta brand?


FSS: It’s interesting because so much of youth culture today is consumed through social media, and Lee took Bottega Veneta off of Instagram and other platforms. Yet, it’s impossible to scroll social media without seeing Bottega Veneta. I think that’s a unique dichotomy that really helped Bottega Veneta because, even though they kept releasing campaigns, people mostly consumed their products through other peers. And that made the brand much more approachable and desirable to a younger demographic. 


L-R: Bottega Veneta SS20, Bottega Veneta FW01, Bottega Veneta Pre-Fall 2021

SEB: What was the most surprising, shocking, or interesting thing you learned while doing your research?


FSS: One of my favorite facts about Bottega Veneta is that Giles Deacon was the creative director for a hot minute. The brand really wanted to get with the Y2K phenomenon in the early 2000s, so Deacon tried to make it very colorful and full of logos. Needless to say, it didn’t work. But those collections are so interesting to see as part of the brand’s archive. I wonder if anyone will ever tap into them again. 


SEB: I love that you talk about BV’s approach to color-as-branding in this book. Could you elaborate a little more on how Bottega green has taken over our feeds, closets, and lives?


FSS: The way that Bottega Veneta creative directors have long reimagined logos is fascinating. And Bottega green is a great example of that. Lee used this hue in clothing and accessories, but also in the brand’s shopping bags and other promotional materials. It became the de facto logo because it was such a unique shade of green. Some of Bottega Veneta’s early work had this shade of green, so it was interesting to see Lee referencing the brand’s archive and making it his own. 


L-R: Bottega Veneta Intrecciato boots, Bottega Veneta FW22, Bottega Veneta SS98 Campaign under Edward Buchanan

SEB: What do you hope readers take away from this book — especially devoted fashion acolytes?


FSS: So much of what we know about Bottega Veneta today is through the lens of Lee and Matthieu Blazy’s tenures. But this era is literally a quarter of the book. I want them to look back to the work of people like Edward Buchanan, Giles Deacon, and Tomas Maier, and to learn about the brand’s deep history of craftsmanship.


SEB: And last, but certainly not least: do you have a favorite Bottega Veneta piece or collection?


FSS: Oh, this is hard. But I think it’s the intrecciato knee-high boots that were first created in the ‘60s and Matthieu Blazy has reincorporated into the brand. They are just such a showstopping piece. 🌀


 You can purchase The Little Book of Bottega Veneta here.


 

Savannah Eden Bradley is a writer, fashion editor, gallerina, Gnostic scholar, reformed It Girl, and future beautiful ghost from the Carolina coast. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the fashion magazine HALOSCOPE. You can stalk her everywhere online @savbrads.


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