One of the biggest successes of #NewBottega under Daniel Lee was all those IG-friendly handbags he introduced, which played a big part in making the brand cool again. (The Pouch bags were a hot commodity on the street style and resale markets in 2020.)
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So how, then, do you follow up a streak of best-selling accessories when the designer largely responsible for those It-bags departs? We got some clues into that answer at Bottega Veneta's Fall 2022 show, the first under new designer Matthieu Blazy.
He opened that show with what would be his first handbag for the brand: the Kalimero, a bucket-style bag with a sliding rope-like strap which the model slung over her shoulder. It signaled an entirely new approach to Bottega Veneta's signature Intrecciato weave, as this one is made entirely by hand as one piece with no seams.
Courtesy of Bottega Veneta
Perhaps that could explain the hefty price tag: $7,500, which is significantly higher than the Pouch, Casette and Jodie styles and is closer to what some Chanel flap bags cost. It's worth noting that the ready-to-wear pieces were equally on the ultra-pricey side. The fringed skirts, for instance, went viral after their $29k price tag on Moda Operandi's trunk show made the rounds.
While the runway included other handbag shapes and silhouettes, the Kalimero is representative of Blazy's highly artisanal approach for his Bottega, which seems to be repositioning itself even more high-end. ("...craft in motion ... a sense of subversion to tradition with movement, sensuality and life," the website reads, adding that the Kalimero is central to this idea.)
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Since its runway debut, only a few stars have donned the Kalimero, including Julianne Moore at Cannes, Chloë Sevigny at a spring benefit, model Liu Wen at the airport and Dua Lipa at the Sunny Hill Festival. It comes in four neutral colors and features an interior drawstring canvas pouch. It has been listed for pre-order on Bottega Veneta's website for a while, with shipping slated for August 31.
With its bigger price tag, it remains to be seen if the bag will reach the level of ubiquity and It-status its predecessors saw, or if there will be a wide gifting strategy for it this season like Dior and Furla tend to do. Regardless, the mainline Bottega bags aren't going anywhere, so shoppers will still have plenty of options.