#CNI Lux Day 2: The New Language of Bottega Veneta
Alice Newbold, Vogue Daily Editor, reporting live from the CNI Luxury Conference in Lisbon
I wanted to give our maisons exceptional support and expertise in what is their main challenge in the years to come: the ability to meet their customers’ needs and fulfil their desires,” said François-Henri Pinault of Claus-Dietrich Lahrs’s appointment as CEO of Bottega Veneta in 2016.
The appointment of such an industry leader was a tactical move by a forward-thinking Pinault, CEO and chairman of Kering, which owns Bottega Veneta. Lahrs hailed from Hugo Boss, and prior to that held senior positions at some of the most prestigious luxury brands in the world, including Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior Couture. At the Condé Nast International Luxury conference, he told Suzy Menkes how he is fulfilling Pinault’s task of capturing consumers for the long term.
“Bottega Veneta has always put its clients first, and this has granted the company over the years a very loyal customer base,” Lahrs said, “But they are moving, we have to find a language that speaks to them”. He implemented a complete digital overhaul to tailor Bottega Veneta’s storytelling to how the customers consume: “Everything must work for online first.”
Bottega Veneta’s ‘Four Cornerstones’ philosophy rests on four ‘Pillars’ (Sustainability, Dialogue, Invididualism, Experience) and three ‘Ideals’ (Mystery, Surrealism, Sophistication) which play a crucial part in the brand legacy under creative director Tomas Maier and brand development, but, Lahrs said, understanding “the brand needs education, it’s not a show-off brand”.
Asia is a priority for expansion, but the new maison on Madison Avenue is also a cornerstone in Bottega Veneta’s retail growth and its commitment to the US. The three-story historical townhouse comprises ‘The Apartment,’ a homely space where creative director Tomas Maier has selected the books on the shelves and the fine art on rotation. Customers generally spend at least an hour in the store, illustrating the importance of this bricks-and-mortar presence and putting the brand into context.
On how the brand will keep a finger on the pulse of innovation but stay true to its high standards of quality and sustainability, Lahrs said: “We have to look at what it possible.” For him, it’s like fuel verses electricity – there are many points to consider. “It’s important not to be surprised,” he said, which is why he is looking into leather alternatives. Hearing the CEO of one of the world’s largest leather heritage brands pledge an openness to a leather-free future is big news indeed.
The fourth annual Condé Nast International Luxury Conference is in Lisbon, on the 18th and 19th April. For more information, visit the website