VILLANOVA, Pa. — As part of Villanova University’s “The Difference Italy Makes” conference series, Bottega Veneta chief executive officer Carlo Alberto Beretta led a lecture on “Tradition, Elegance and Craftsmanship: The Timeless Luxury Model of Bottega Veneta” before a packed room of students and academics. The conference, created in conjunction with the Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia, focuses on the impact that Italian commerce has on the world.
Beretta, who’s approaching his one-year anniversary at the helm of the luxury brand, spent most of his time at the lectern Tuesday exploring the connection between luxury and art, weaving in Bottega Veneta’s history to illustrate his point. A highlight was when he showed clips from a Seventies movie that Andy Warhol produced for the brand, replete with clips of women shopping in Bottega Veneta boutiques. He also discussed the company’s game-changing acquisition by the Gucci Group in 2001, stating that it enabled Bottega Veneta to grow globally as a lifestyle brand while remaining independent.
Much of his discussion delved into the brand’s abhorrence of logos — despite a short-lived and unsuccessful mid-Nineties dabble into the style. Instead, Bottega Veneta has today formed its niche via Intrecciato, an artisan technique of weaving leather. “Fashion is evolving rapidly,” Beretta said. “A few years ago it was all about status and logos. Today it’s about craftsmanship and art. Having no logos is extremely important to us. We don’t want to be strongly recognized. We don’t want to put our name on you. We want you to put your name on our product,” he said emphatically.
After the lecture ended, Beretta opened the floor for a question-and-answer session. He was asked the significance of the “Made in Italy” label, to which he stated that it symbolizes the relationship between fashion, culture and business, and he was asked about the painstaking process of making a Bottega Veneta bag. He was then questioned about what he deems to be the key to the brand’s success. “We are not only selling a product, we are selling a dream,” he responded. “Without a dream, we cannot sell a product.”