In an unconventional and stealthy move back in early January 2021, Bottega Veneta deleted its Instagram account and effectively wiped the brand’s social media off the internet. Followers were left in the dark with no inkling as to what was next for the luxury fashion house for months — until now. At long last, the fashion house’s Creative Director Daniel Lee has revealed the plan: Bottega Veneta has created a digital magazine, aptly titled Issue, and it will act as the luxury fashion house’s only virtual presence (their Insta will remain deactivated). The quarterly issues will be released in tandem with the label’s collections, and the first edition — which debuted this week — showcases Bottega Veneta’s Spring 2021 collection, Salon 01.
During an interview with The Guardian, Lee revealed he feels social media oversimplifies his work and “represents the homogenization of culture.” The 35 year old designer hopes Issue will be a “more progressive and thoughtful” space for his creativity and this journey begins with the brand’s first digital journal. Issue No. 1 is a compilation of photography and videos that showcase the brand’s inventory in experimental experiences. You’ll see hands shaping balloons into Bottega Veneta’s flower chain jewelry, digital blobs contorting themselves into the looping coils found on the brand’s Cord Ring, jello molds of the Tire Boots and Point Bag, and, at a closer glance, you’ll notice sunglasses and jewelry are trapped inside the confections — a very meta, gelatine-induced Bottega Veneta experience.
Other notable moments from Issue No. 1 include a glitzy interlude of Missy Elliot rapping her song “Hot Boyz” and edible footwear recreations by Tyler Mitchell, an NYC-based food artist. Mitchell’s deliciously fabulous work includes a nearly side-by-side replica of Bottega Veneta’s Curve Sandals made of lilac icing and a pair of Lido Sandals composed of hand-made, red candy. “I find myself always ogling how beautiful [Bottega Veneta’s] designs and craftsmanship are,” says Mitchell in a chat with TZR. Instead of focusing on integrating the brand’s pieces into her closet, as other fashion admirers might, Mitchell views them through a food-specific lens. “I can’t help but dream up ways to reimagine their work after having so much deep appreciation for it.”
Mitchell makes a point to say her intricate art explores fashion trends, but her work is not a careless fad. “I like to focus on using edible items while also being mindful of waste. I find myself leaning towards candy (since it contains minimal nutritional value) and food packaging. If I utilize something like fresh produce, I use a clear thread and sanitary practices to preserve it for personal consumption.
Mitchell also resonates with Lee's decision to sever ties with social media. "Choosing to do something like a digital magazine allows people to immerse themselves in an experience, rather than see a post, click the like button, and say, 'OK, I'm done.' Individuals can walk away with not only a deeper appreciation for the brand, but also for how creatives are depicting our appreciation," adds Mitchell. "[Bottega's Issue] challenges the scope of what it means to be a timeless fashion brand and to be able to reinvent itself over and over again in an exciting way."
If you are sad about the Bottega Veneta-shaped hole in your Instagram feed, however, fear not. The independently-run account @newbottega regularly posts curated visuals from the brand and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s mirror selfies frequently feature pops of Bottega. Below, you’ll find some of the items that are represented in Issue No. 1 (none of Mitchell’s sugary shoes are available for wear, unfortunately) and you can immerse yourself in the 133-page magazine at issuedbybottega.com.
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