The new woman in charge at Bottega Veneta is a bolter: the move comes after four years in the job, which saw Bottega become one of the Italian brand’s fastest-growing labels. Carla Sozzani, who officially took over in late May but took over from the departed Tomas Maier in March last year, will be focused on expanding the brand’s presence in North America. But the decision to step down, in part, was attributed to the difficulties in introducing the new designs with a wholesale network that is not set up for new releases. Bottega, a heritage brand, was not set up for product diversification or to be made up of as many shades as a cactus.
As the former editor of Italian Vogue, Carla Sozzani has a strong eye for fashion and is credited with bringing to Bottega the ability to keep pace with trends. She also has a new background: expanding beyond the realms of colour, a move that she admits was a point of pride as “it seems so difficult to be modern”. To do this, she has collaborated with Asos to give her brands a younger customer base. As she points out, “It’s not a question of having innovative style. It’s a question of building a multidimensional brand. In Italy, young people love it [the brand], but they can’t afford it because it costs so much to use.”
You might not necessarily think that this is the kind of discussion you’d have if, say, Marc Jacobs, the man who essentially created the new look for Bottega, was announced as the new chief designer of Louis Vuitton. At Vuitton, Louis Vuitton becomes T. Le Suquet. Michael Kors, the sporty, look-how-cool-I-am New York designer, takes over from Louis Vuitton and becomes a Dutch Kors. As is the trend, this new woman in charge is an bolter: Carla Sozzani has nothing to lose.