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July 29 2014

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Concerning The It Bag

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This week’s New Yorker takes an in-depth look at one of fashion’s most intriguing (not to mention most tight-lipped) personalities: Tomas Maier, the German-born creative director of Bottega Veneta, who’s credited with bringing the label back from the brink of bankruptcy. How’d he do it? By embracing discretion and insider-style luxury when the world was still at the height of logomania-and its most visible avatar, the It Bag.

“There was a stage when, however unappealing something was, if it had enough logos written all over it, somebody seemed to buy it,” Suzy Menkes tells the magazine, calling the period “a worldwide aberration.” Maier is on the record as anti-It Bag, too: It is “totally marketed bullshit crap,” he says. His rejoinder to it: the woven, unfeminine Cabat bag, left, which is painstaking to craft (only one person can work on any single bag, because no two people pull the leather to the same tension). But of course, the Cabats are notoriously expensive-up to almost $80,000 for a special-order croc model and produced in limited quantities, so there’s frequently a wait list for one. Tom Ford-who hired Maier for the Bottega position when he ran Bottega’s corporate parent, Gucci Group-sums up the paradox in what could pass for a fashion-world Zen koan: “By not doing the It Bag, you do the It Bag,” he says.

John Colapinto’s full article is available to subscribers on newyorker.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Bottega Veneta

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