'When your own initials are enough' is the mantra of Italian luxury goods house Bottega Veneta. Its customers are so sophisticated in their tastes and confident of who they are–so follows the logic–that they need no universally recognised logo to signify the value of their purchase.
It is true that this handsome, chocolate-coloured, leather suitcase hardly screams 'flashy fashion provenance' to the unversed. Like knowing which one is their water glass at lunch or from which stationers to order their 'at home' cards, Bottega Veneta consumers clearly notice a secret something in the case that makes them part with some £2,500 more than they would for an average department-store suitcase. This visual clue is the latticed leatherwork; the 'intrecciato nappa' or interwoven cowhide that has come to symbolise the prestigious Bottega Veneta brand. In a word, the secret something their customers recognise is 'craft'.
Once the magic words 'craftsmanship', 'artisanal' or 'finest materials' are uttered, shoppers must understand that they are to suspend disbelief when it comes to payment. By sheer merit of having been well made from substances of quality (which we wouldn't expect ordinarily?) the suitcase in question is instantaneously vaulted from the realm of GNER sleeper trains to the world of private jets. In fact, this case-the smallest in a Marco Polo series of three sizes-can pass through the hold of your average EasyJet carrier, as it comes with a special, zippered, protective enclosure. The largest doesn't need one, though. It's so big that it can't fit an ordinary car boot and those in possession of the Rolls Royces and Bentleys that can accommodate it rarely fly on 'public transport'.
Rarely seen in public, then, of what relevance is the Bottega Veneta suitcase to the rest of the fashion industry, or indeed life as most of us know it? Such luxury objects exist as a sort of a 'real fashion myth', where consumption occurs at the level of appreciation and intellectual connoisseurship rather than literal commercial transaction. Something to be known about, rather than possessed. A knowledge that is, in Withnail's words, 'free to those who can afford it, very expensive to those that can't'.
Intrecciato nappa leather suitcase by Bottega Veneta at Bottega Veneta +4420 7838 9394