By Craig Patterson
Luxury fashion brand Bottega Veneta, known particularly for its woven leather goods, will open a standalone store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre this winter. The brand is the latest luxury brand to open in the mall, which is becoming a top draw for global brands looking to open their first stores in Canada.
Yorkdale’s Bottega Veneta will be located in the mall’s 2012 expansion wing beside Hugo Boss, and across from the entrance to the Holt Renfrew men’s store. Bottega Veneta will span about 4,700 square feet on one level and is expected to carry the brand’s assortment of fashions, leather goods and accessories as well as footwear for both men and women.
A smaller Bottega Veneta boutique also operates at Vancouver International airport. The concession, which carries mainly accessories, is part of the World Duty Free group of stores that are located behind security gates and are accessible to those traveling internationally.
Bottega Veneta was founded in 1966 by entrepreneurs Michele Taddei and Renzo Zengiaro in Vicenza, Italy, and is known for its leather goods as well as men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, footwear, jewellery, eyewear, fragrances and even furniture. In the early 1970’s, the brand used the advertising tag line “when your own initials are enough” and its prominence grew as clients such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the empress Farah Pahlavi were seen wearing the brands. In 1980, Andy Warhol made a short film for the company.
After some struggles in the 1980’s that included temporarily adding branding to its products, Bottega Veneta was purchased by Gucci Group for $156-million in 2001. Gucci’s then creative director Tom Ford hired Tomas Maier (previously at Sonia Rykiel and Hermès) that year and the brand was repositioned to cater to ‘stealth wealth’ — in 2005 the company launched its first women’s ready-to-wear collection, followed a year later by men's wear and jewellery. Earlier this month, Bottega Veneta parted ways with long-term creative director Tomas Maier in favour of 32-year old Daniel Lee.
Bottega Veneta is the latest luxury brand to move into Yorkdale, which boasts more first-to-Canada luxury stores than anywhere in the country. Other brands opening this summer include Chloé (which opened last week) and in the fall, Oliver Peoples will open one of two Canadian stores at Yorkdale.
International luxury group Kering S.A. is the parent company of Bottega Veneta, which also operates Saint Laurent and Gucci boutiques at Yorkdale (Gucci, which is located in Holt's, will expand). Kering’s other brands include the likes of Balenciaga (opening a Holt's boutique this fall), Alexander McQueen, Boucheron and Brioni, as well as the less-expensive Volcom brand.
Bottega Veneta operates stores globally, including almost 30 in the United States on some of the most prestigious streets as well as in some of its best malls. Bottega Veneta is also available in some of the world’s leading luxury retailers. In Canada, Bottega Veneta bags and accessories can be found at Holt Renfrew in Toronto (50 Bloor St. W. and Yorkdale), Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary, as well as at Saks Fifth Avenue at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, where Saks operates a beautiful licensed Bottega Veneta accessory boutique that was designed by dkstudio.
Given the spending on luxury goods in Vancouver, one might expect Bottega Veneta to be considering space on or near the city's Alberni Street 'Luxury Zone'. As well, Toronto's Bloor-Yorkville could be in the running for a full-sized standalone Bottega Veneta, and an expanded shop-in-store is also expected to open on the ground floor of Holt Renfrew at 50 Bloor Street West, which is in the process of undergoing a significant substantial expansion and renovation which is expected to be completed in 2020.