Bottega Veneta Intrecciato

Bottega Veneta was established in 1966 by Vittorio and Laura Moltedo in Vincenza, a town in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy.  The name “Bottega Veneta” means Venetian shop.

Vinvenza Italy

The company began by manufacturing artisanal leather accessories.  Great things are borne out of necessity and such was the case when the artisans at Bottega Veneta conceived the “intrecciato” or woven style of making leather goods.

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Intrecciato – interlocking strips of leather

At the time of the company’s inception in the 1960s, Vincenza was known for manufacturing ready-to-wear.  The factories in the region were outfitted with machines suited for sewing and finishing fabric.  The artists at Bottega Veneta developed intrecciato to accommodate needles in the existing sewing machines.  The technique involved braiding very thin leather strips.   Intrecciato is the Italian word for braided.  The interlocking leather strips re-enforced the durability and enhanced the beauty of the finished piece.

Intrecciato became the signature of the brand thus embedded in its DNA.  Today, it graces Bottega Veneta’s products and packaging.  Collections have expanded to include men and women’s ready to wear, shoes, jewelry, home goods and fragrance.

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While other brands use logos to distinguish their products, Bottega Veneta’s understated intrecciato motif has become synonymous with distinctive styling, quality materials and superior craftsmanship.  The philosophy of the brand is evident in their slogan, “When your own initials are enough”.

In 2001 the Moltedo family sold the company to Gucci (now part of the Kering Group).   Thomas Maier was appointed Creative Director.  Maier can be credited with the revival and expansion of the brand whilst honoring and preserving  it’s cultural and artistic roots.

In September of 2013 Bottega Veneta inaugurated a new state of the art teaching and manufacturing facility – The Villa, Montebello Vicentino.   The facility obtained LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification in the New Construction & Major Renovation category.  This prestigious certification demonstrates the brand’s commitment to employee well being, environmental consciousness and sustainability.

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The Villa Montebello Vicentino

The school housed at the atelier, La Scuola dei Maestri Pellettieri di Bottega Veneta serves as a workshop, where new hires are taught the principles and techniques from master teachers and technicians who have been a part of the Bottega Veneta story since the very beginning.

Thomas Maier recognized that the artisans were Bottega Veneta’s most valuable resource.  He set about to ensure that their knowledge would be valued and preserved for generations to come, thus ensuring the continuation of what the founders began in Vincenza over 50 years ago.

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“It would be a profound loss if the knowledge and cultural wealth embodied in artisanal crafts were to vanish. Such know-how carries precious threads of individual creativity and human history – in this alone, it is irreplaceable. Not only must we save particular knowledge, we must work to ensure that craft continues to thrive in the places where they have roots. Place is essential to craft. Just as local cultural traditions profoundly inform workmanship, so too does the presence of historically rooted craft shape the evolution of local culture.” – Tomas Maier

 

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La fille d’O

The selection of underwear available to women on the market today by and large falls into two categories – heavily embellished super sexy pieces meant to be worn, to be removed and basic full coverage pieces that are not particularly flattering but practical for everyday wear.

La fille d’O manages to accomplish the ideal; beautiful, comfortable AND sexy.  The pieces are barely there – a whisper of fabric.  Mostly sheer and as such almost invisible, but fully supportive, providing enhancement in the simplest most natural way.   The charm and intrigue of these pieces lies in the feeling of freedom the wearer experiences as wearing La Fille d’O is like wearing nothing at all.   There are no frills or lace. Just the woman and the curves of her body.

In the world of La fille d’O,  the female form informs function.  It is underwear that seamlessly caresses the body for the perfect invisible under clothing fit and look.  La fille d’O employs simple lines and shapes that serve to enhance the contours of a woman’s body without being superfluous. The concept is centered around the notion that the body should shape the lingerie, not the other way around.  It is actualized in designs meant to support and embrace rather than pad, bind, or mold the body.

 

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Top: Need Shiver | Bottom: Time Girl

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Got cruel bodysuit

The brand is based in Belgium and offers lingerie and swim wear.  It has been the recipient of the Handmade in Belgium (HIB) distinction reserved for Belgian artisans displaying exemplary craftsmanship. Fabrics and detailing are sourced from France, Austria and Germany.

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Ignition – plunge back playsuit in french nylon

La fille d’O translates to the daughter of O.  The name references the book, The Story of O written by Pauline Reage.  Before there was 50 Shades of Gray there was the Story of O.  The book proved to be a major source of inspiration for Murielle in creating the brand.    After reading The Story of O and recognizing a need in the marketplace for lingerie pieces that met her criteria, “pretty, functional AND sexy”, Murielle began designing and La fille d’O was born.  The overarching vision for the brand comes from the French word “le soutian” meaning brassiere.  It is lingerie meant to be supportive of a woman’s body and mind.

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Watching  – highrise halter neck playsuit

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Bonte playsuit

Each piece has a certain magic.  The La fille d’O touch, best explained as “……..alchemy for sensuality, a feast for the visually hungry.  La fille d’O brings satisfaction to the urge you never really acknowledged.”

For a peek inside the La fille d’O atelier watch the video below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stiletto

Bruno Frisoni for Roger Vivier

Bruno Frisoni for Roger Vivier

I began thinking about the high heel aka the stiletto recently after purchasing a new pair and wearing it to work instead of my usual ballet flats.  Shoes really do help make the woman, I decided, as I sailed through the day on a cloud of compliments from coworkers and customers alike.  Internally, I felt more put together, confident and attractive.  The practicality and comfort of ballet flats were always a selling point for me. I do not like to be hindered or distracted as I go about my day.  Flats allow me to zip around at a fast pace from task to task without a care.

When wearing heels, I move slower, more tentatively out of necessity, in order to stay upright.  They give me the erect posture my mother insisted upon by pulling my shoulders back from their natural hunched forward position. This of course is nothing new, women have worn heels for years in order to achieve just this effect, that of improving the posture and as a result the figure.

If we were to break down the overall effect a woman gets from wearing heels, it would consist of these individual components; heels simulate standing on your tip toes thereby elongating the legs, thrusting the bust forward, the calves and thighs are accentuated as the muscles of the legs remain activated in order to maintain an upright stance.  In heels, the tummy is relegated to the farthest regions of the abdomen, the bottom lifts and the hips perform wide sways from side to side.  In totality, these effects produce an instant boost to a woman’s sex-appeal both physically and mentally.

So who do women have to thank for this amazing invention? As it turns out heels have been worn in one form or another since 4000 BC as evidenced by hieroglyphics found on the walls of Egyptian temples and tombs.  Chopines ca. 1400-1700 made out of wood or cork, embellished with leather, jewel embroidered velvet or brocade were first worn by Venetian courtesans and patrician women alike.

The chopine ca. 1400-1700

The chopine ca. 1400-1700

“Stiletto” is an Italian word meaning small metal dagger, referring to the steel rod encased in every heel of any significant height .  The present day form of stilettos were invented in 1954 by Frenchman, Roger Vivier.  Born in 1907, Vivier studied sculpture and drawing at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in France. His studies in sculpture and his passion for the theater would later inform and inspire his work in shoe design.

Roger Vivier

Roger Vivier

Vivier was introduced to the business of shoe making when a friend offered him a job at a shoe factory where he learned the basics of the craft.   He subsequently began designing shoes for actors and theater artists of the day such as Josephine Baker for whom he signed his first custom shoe, decorated with sequins and tassels.  His first studio was opened in 1937 at 22 rue Royale in Paris.  At this point, Vivier designed for large shoe companies such as Delman and Bally among others.

During the war, Vivier moved to America to work for Delman.   When leather rationing reduced shoe sales he became an assistant photographer to George Hoyningen-Huene of Vogue.  He returned to Paris in 1947 and continued to draw sketches for well known shoe manufacturers.  In 1955 through 1962 he worked for Christian Dior.  Printed on every shoe he designed for the house of Dior was the inscription “Christian Dior crée par Roger Vivier” making Roger Vivier the only designer name that Christian Dior agreed to have printed alongside his.

Roger Vivier for Christian Dior advertisment

Roger Vivier for Christian Dior advertisment

Roger Vivier for Christian Dior blue satin pump

Roger Vivier for Christian Dior blue satin pump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roger Vivier for Christian Dior mule

Roger Vivier for Christian Dior mule

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In June of 1953 Roger Vivier garnered more acclaim by designing the gold kidskin pumps studded with 3,000 garnets for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.  After the death of Christian Dior in 1957, Vivier began collaborating with Dior’s successor, Yves Saint Laurent.  The square heeled pilgrim buckle pump debuted in 1965 in the acclaimed Yves Saint Laurent “Mondrian” collection.

Yves Saint Laurent mondrian collection paired with Roger Vivier pilgrim shoes

Yves Saint Laurent mondrian collection paired with Roger Vivier pilgrim shoes

Catherine Devenue wore Vivier’s pilgrim in the movie Belle de Jour released in 1967 and the design became an instant best seller and remains timeless and chic to this day.

Catherine Devenue in Bell de Jour (far left) Audrey Hepburn (center) and recent designs of the pilgrim

Catherine Devenue in Bell de Jour (far left) Audrey Hepburn both wearing the Roger Vivier pilgrim (center) and recent designs of the pilgrim (far right)

Close up of Catherine Devenue wearing the pilgrim in Belle de Jour

Close up of Catherine Devenue wearing the pilgrim in Belle de Jour

 

Rober Vivier pilgrim pumps

Rober Vivier pilgrim pumps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger Vivier influenced many of today’s luxury shoe designers.   Christian Louboutin apprenticed with him for a time and Manolo Blahnik heralds him as a master craftsman.  Vivier died in 1998 at the age of 90 doing what he loved best, designing shoes to the very end.  The Roger Vivier brand was purchased two years after his death by Diego Della Valle the CEO of Tod’s.  Mr. Della Valle appointed French-Italian accessories designer Bruno Frisoni to revive the brand.  Today, Roger Vivier’s spirit is channeled in Mr. Della Valle’s designs.  The iconic silver pilgrim buckle has come to grace accessories of every kind from sunglasses to clutches.

Roger Vivier sunglasses with pilgrim buckle

Roger Vivier sunglasses with pilgrim buckle

Rover Vivier shoe and clutch

Rover Vivier shoe and clutch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creations from recent collections are being worn by a new generation of artists and actresses alike.  Vivier’s legacy of luxury and fine craftsmanship continues.  As he told Vogue in 1984, “to wear dreams on one’s feet is to begin to give a reality to one’s dreams, and to nourish the hope that they will bring on other dreams”.  With such rich history, there is little wonder as to why stilletos still bring about the intended effect, which has always been to enhance a woman’s allure.

Maison Goyard – Paris, France

Goyard Maison Paris

Maison Goyard Paris

The House of Goyard began as The House of Martin founded in 1792 by Pierre-Francois Martin, located at 4 Rue Neuve de Capucines in Paris.  The House of Martin was ahead of its time specializing in box making, trunk-making and packaging, well before the age of the great trunk makers of the late XIXth century.  This foresight was borne out of a necessity to carefully and properly fold and pack the fragile belongings of the aristocrats of the day.  An early advertising campaign best described the services of Maison Martin as:

“selling an assortment of boxes and cases; it provides quality packing services for fragile furniture and objects as well as hats, gowns and flowers; it uses oiled canvas, plain canvas,, straw for packaging; manufacturer of horse carriages, trunks, coat racks, it also supplies oil cloth and water proof canvas, all at a fair price”

Pierre-Francois Martin gave The House of Martin as the dowry for the marriage of his ward Pauline to Louis-Henri Morel.   It was Morel who hired the first of the House’s current namesake, Francois Goyard, who at 17 years old became his apprentice.  Francois took over the helm of the house after Morel’s sudden death in 1852  and led its growth and expansion for the next 32 years.  Francois believed that in order to control and maintain the quality of workmanship, that the House of Goyard had come to epitomize, the manufacturing process needed to be strictly managed. One of his first orders of business was to open his own state of the art workshops.

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Fabric

Edmond Goyard, Francois’ son took over the business in 1885.  In 1892 Edmond Goyard created the iconic patterned fabric called Goyardine which has become symbolic of the brand to this very day.  The story behind the pattern and the fabric is rooted in the history of the Goyard family going back many generations.

The Goyards were traditionally a family of log drivers originating from Clemancy, a village in Burgundy.  Log drivers transported logs that would eventually become firewood via inland waterways from the forests of Morvan to Paris.  Adult male Goyard family members were members of the Campagnons de Riviere – Companions of the River- a French workman’s guild for log drivers.

Log driving

Log driving

The pattern which graces all Goyard pieces is reminiscent of logs piled along a waterway being driven by log drivers to their final destination.  The fabric is also taken from the family’s history using the same natural coated cloth made by mixing hemp, linen and cotton that the Campagnons de Riviere used to make their garments.

Goyardine

Goyardine

Little has changed in the manufacture of Goyardine, still a closely guarded secret process.  What is known is that the process produces a waterproof fabric both durable and soft.  The production of Goyardine ceased after WWII but resumed after Jean-Michel Signole a longtime connossiuer and collector took over the house in 1998.  Signole has carried on the traditions of this venerable house through to today.  The Paris boutique opened in 1834 at 347 Rue St Honore (now 233 Rue St Honore due to a Postal address change in 1856) has kept the look of old world charm and elegance which remains quintessentially Goyard.

Maison Goyard present day

Maison Goyard – The Art Book

“….this object is nothing less than a bible of luxury – not so much a book as a work of art and heart”

These are the words used by Suzy Menkes, the notable New York Times fashion critic to describe The Art Book published by the House of Goyard in 2010 which traces the history of Goyard and the art of traveling luxuriously in the 20th Century.

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The book, a collector’s item, took 10 years to prepare and is offered as a limited edition of 233 to commemorate Goyard’s address at 233 Rue St Honore.  The pages are hand cut and made by employing a 500 year old technique of lightening hemp with the petals of a desert flower.  More about the venerable brand that warrants this tome in my next post.

Cire Trudon

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I discovered Cire Trudon candles on a stormy Sunday afternoon at the Alchemist on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.  My sister asked about the name of my favorite candle which was Baies by Diptique.  Two store attendants chimed in that I should try the Cire Trudon candles so beautifully displayed under bell jars as they would definitely make rethink.  In their words, “this was a totally different type of company” turns out they were right.

Cire Trudon bell jar display

Cire Trudon is the oldest wax manufacturer in the world.  Started on Rue St Honore in 1643 by Claude Trudon a salesman and wax merchant, Cire Trudon became THE candle used by historical notables such as Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette and Napoleon.  It is said that in 1811 Napoleon’s only gift to his son at birth was a Trudon candle encrusted with three pieces of gold featuring his head.  The brand survived wars and the industrial revolution.

In 2006 the house of Trudon was relaunched by Ramdane Touhami a French-Moroccan artist, fashion designer, product designer, DJ and journalist.

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