The Reason Bottega Veneta Left Instagram

By Alice Cary, British Vogue

When Bottega Veneta vanished from Instagram, it was something of a virtual mic drop. At the start of the year, news broke that the cult brand had deleted its social media accounts, prompting much speculation around why. Maybe creative director Daniel Lee had decided to focus on organic promotion courtesy of his devoted celebrity following? After all, when BV obsessives like Kylie Jenner, Rihanna and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are frequently sharing their favourite accessories with their millions of followers, the promo box is pretty well ticked.  

Bottega Veneta Issue 01 by Elaine Constantine

© Bottega Veneta

But now we know what Lee was up to: curating a “digital journal” of interactive stills, film and audio, set to be released quarterly to coincide with seasonal collections hitting stores. Issue will provide the Italian brand’s online presence going forward, a move Lee told the Guardian he hopes will offer a “more progressive and more thoughtful” virtual offering. “Social media represents the homogenisation of culture,” he said. 

The cover of Bottega Veneta Issue 01, designed by James Lacey.

© Bottega Veneta

Flying under the radar has worked for Lee thus far. He swerved the Paris Fashion Week schedule last autumn and instead held an exclusive preview of his spring/summer 2021 collection for a small, select audience (British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful was joined by the likes of Salma Hayek, Neneh Cherry, Kanye West and Skepta at the Salon 1 showcase). The rest of the world had to wait until early December to see the catwalk imagery. 

Bindi Steel.

© Bottega Veneta

The content is a suitably chic and eclectic mix: Missy Elliott stars in a rebooted music video for her 1999 track “Hot Boyz”, lensed by Derek Blanks. There’s also a lilac icing-adorned reimagining of BV’s woven mules by Tyler Mitchell, and wobbling jelly versions of the Tyre boots and the Point bag from Alex Paganelli, otherwise known as Dead Hungry

Remember Oumi Janta, the Berlin-based rollerskater whose joyous Instagram clips had us all yearning for four wheels on each foot? She also makes a cameo; swirling across a dancefloor wearing disco-ready Bottega dresses. 

Mariacarla Boscono by Jonathan Frantini.

© Bottega Veneta

A little like Phoebe Philo-era “Old Céline”, traces of Bottega Veneta’s former Instagram life will now appear only on appreciation accounts like @newbottega, something Lee has said he is happy about, even though his many fans will no doubt feel the loss.