When Bottega Veneta first rose to fame in the 1970s, the brand declared its stealth-luxe ethos with the tagline “When Your Own Initials Are Enough”—perfectly summing up the attitude that discretion is the height of chic. The phrase was splashed across advertisements, becoming the brand’s calling card and one of the last century’s most iconic bits of marketing copy. When Tomas Maier took the helm in 2001, that motto became his MO for reinvigorating the brand, creating an entire lifestyle around the idea of flash-free, quietly decadent design.
While Maier has stayed true to the phrase, abstaining from any kind of conspicuous branding, the tagline eventually fell by the wayside. But this spring, the brand is paying homage to its roots with a new monogramming program—because even in this moment of logomania (Gucci! Vuitton! Balenciaga!), one’s own initials are still the most exclusive label of all.
The new personalization program debuted on the runway as part of Maier’s spring collection, with models toting a variety of leather goods primed for embellishment. The new totes and duffels come in canvas, suede, and ostrich leather printed with graphic racing stripes—an ideal canvas for a monogram. In addition to these latest styles, many of the brand’s classic interecciato (Bottega Veneta’s signature woven leather technique) backpacks, briefcases, and small leather goods can also now be personalized. When it comes to the actual lettering, one can choose from traditional embossed or stamped shadowed letters in three sizes and six seasonal colors (complimentary with purchase of the bag). The real pièce de résistance, though, are hand-stitched 3-D letters, which are cut from calfskin or luxe crocodile (calfskin: $130 per letter; crocodile: $190 per letter). Embossing and stamping can be done within 24 hours at select stores, while the hand-stitched letters require 24 hours or up to a few days, as the stitching can only be executed by specially trained artisans.
The program made its retail debut at Bottega Veneta’s recently opened New York flagship, which consists of three combined town houses spanning over 15,000 square feet—making it the largest Bottega Veneta store in the world. The palatial store, or maison as the brand refers to it, features five floors housing Bottega Veneta’s full lineup of products alongside a rotating exhibition of art on loan from the European gallery Robilant + Voena. Thoughtfully designed and exquisitely crafted from the baseboards to the brushed-brass ceilings, the New York maison is a temple to Bottega’s school of understated elegance. And when subtlety looks this good, you may be tempted to swear off all logos entirely—except for your own initials, of course.