It was difficult not to mistake the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art for an atelier in Northern Italy last week, as we wandered into Bottega Veneta’s ‘Masters of Craft’ event in Melbourne. The aroma of pristine leather mixed with bergamot infused the vast gallery space, transporting us to a world in which heritage and craftsmanship reigned. We knew we were in for an exceptional evening.
Without the need for any branding gimmicks, Bottega Veneta is a house that has epitomised luxury through a commitment to craftsmanship since the 60s. The event gave us an insight into the house’s rich heritage via a series of immersive experiences such as live leather- weaving demonstrations and a ‘walk’ through the Parco Palladiano fragrance collection. These multi-sensory displays offered guests a rare and intimate glimpse into a creative universe we might otherwise only have encountered in a shop window, or on a runway.
Observing the Italian artisans in action from the house’s atelier in Montebello Vicentino, we learnt more than a few lessons about Bottega Veneta’s signature intrecciato weaving technique. This technique features on most offerings from the house, from the smallest keyring to brand’s iconic Cabat tote. Witnessing this process up close also made us reflect a little more deeply on the vital role these hand-crafted treasures play in any style- connoisseur’s wardrobe, both in terms of versatility, and a level of quality that will last a lifetime.
The intrecciato weaving technique for a single tote can take two highly skilled artisans up to two days work to complete, often done standing up. Strips of leather or fettuce are woven over and under each other in diagonal patterns, producing a durable and robust foundation for the tote before the addition of handles. Such pieces are not only art objects in themselves, but they express the wearer’s commitment to creativity, technique and attention to detail. Most admirable.
LESS IS MORE
If there’s one thing, the event’s curation of new and archival products demonstrated was that Bottega Veneta is a celebration of refinement; allowing fabrication and technique to speak for themselves. With very few prints or motifs, the house has built its reputation on a vision of understated luxury. To have that one backpack or messenger bag you can team with any ensemble in your wardrobe is perhaps the ultimate expression of effortless style.
Watching reels of rare archival footage showing the brand’s evolution through the decades, we understood why Bottega Veneta has such a loyal following of customers who take great pride in the idea of investing in pieces that will last a lifetime. When you purchase a Bottega Veneta product, you invest in a part of history, a piece of tradition. They are products that will take you from one season to the next, one country to the next, from one generation to another.
We were also reminded of the importance of engaging all the senses when it comes to experiencing Bottega Veneta’s Italian heritage and inspiration drawn from the natural world. Sumptuous aromas from the house’s Parco Palladiano fragrance collection tantalised guests as they experienced Cipresso (Cyprus), Melagrana (Pomegranate) and Lauro (Laurel) to name a few. Mingling with the smell of leather in the air, these fragrances transported us right to the heart of a lush Palladian garden at the Villa La Rotondo.
Thank you Bottega Veneta for a truly inspiring evening. Until we meet again in Veneto! #BVMASTERSOFCRAFT
Words by Alexia Petsinis
Venue photography by Sean Fennessy Guest photography by Liz Sunshine