While some believe the rise of ecommerce is the death knell for bricks-and-mortar retail, luxury fashion is proving otherwise. With 254 stores dotted around the world, Italian luxury fashion label Bottega Veneta – known for its woven leather bags and elegant cocktail clutches – is increasing its retail presence in Australia.
It has just opened its fourth Australian store (within four years) at Melbourne’s Chadstone shopping centre, joining other high-end European fashion houses such as Celine, Chanel and Givenchy at the retail hub.
Bottega Veneta's first Australian boutique opened in Westfield Sydney in 2011, trailed by the Gold Coast in May last year and an impressive Collins Street flagship early last year. The label is owned by luxury French fashion conglomerate Kering, whose stable of fashion labels includes Sergio Rossi and Alexander McQueen. The mega group’s rollout strategy is an attempt to reinvent the tired Italian label to keep pace with the dramatic collection turnarounds of peers Gucci, Fendi and Versace.
Defined by the creative direction of Tomas Maier for 17 years, the label appointed Daniel Lee (previously the head of ready-to-wear at Céline under the former creative direction of Phoebe Philo) in February this year. The young British designer is out to convince customers the label has more to offer than just handbags; it’s reintroducing itself as a more confident, darker version of its former self. Since Lee’s appointment the label has incorporated subtle influences from the old Céline days, such as contemporary gold trimmings and architectural silhouettes.
Expansive windows framed with classic French Gris du Marais marble sit above a serene 1539-foot space rounded out with pale Marmorino stucco walls, natural oak wood flooring and ivory limestone. Sleek lighting coves are dotted along the ceiling, spilling light onto the goods. Even if you can't buy any of the pre-autumn 2019 collection (which includes handbags, small leather goods, shoes, jewellery, luggage, fragrances and eyewear) without draining your savings, it's a beautiful spot to do some window shopping.
The Arco bag has been selling fast; it has a maxi weave and rolled leather handles finished by hand with a contrasting saddle stitch. And the label’s classic Italian signature weave has found its way onto bright mules and heels, and high-shine gold chain bracelets and hoops update its jewellery offering.