By  on June 16, 2008

It's not showy, nor is it splashed with logos. But its perception as distinctive, elegant and less than ubiquitous has lifted Bottega Veneta to the top of the Luxury Institute's just-released list of designer brands accorded the highest social status by affluent consumers.

"Bottega is subtle and inconspicuous — and paradoxically has gotten some press for this," Milton Pedraza, chief executive officer of the Luxury Institute, observed of the brand that topped the poll for the second straight year. "You know it if you're in the know. It's for people who aren't looking to impress others."

Bottega was awarded the top slot in a May poll by the Luxury Institute of 1,600 adults with a minimum annual income of $150,000, including 818 women.

Much of this affluent crowd, Pedraza said, are from middle- and lower-income backgrounds, with self-made financial fortunes, and "do not want to be seen as an ostentatious, avaricious group."

Indeed, Bottega Veneta was only the 24th most-familiar luxury name of the 25 ranked as most prestigious in the Luxury Institute report. (Best known was Calvin Klein, which was number 25 on the social status scale.)

As for other brands on the social status list, Valentino was ranked second, followed by Prada, Chanel and Hermès. Giorgio Armani was in sixth place, with Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Louis Vuitton rounding out the top 10.

Brands like Bottega Veneta and Hermès, Pedraza said, have a presence as "classic brands, not just trends of a season, like an 'It' bag. They are seen as having lasting value."

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