What Happened: Fans looking to engage with Bottega Veneta online may be disappointed when they are greeted with a “page not found” message. On January 5, the Italian luxury brand deleted its Twitter and Instagram accounts and hid all posts from its Facebook page. The unexpected blackout comes after an exclusive presentation of the Kering-owned company’s Spring 2021 collection, called “Salon 01 London,” in October (released online in December), attended by big names like Kanye West and Salma Hayek Pinault.
Given the fashion industry’s increasing reliance on social media to engage consumers, particularly in these socially-distanced times, Bottega Veneta’s departure is surprising to say the least. The brand did not immediately respond to Jing Daily’s request for comment.
The Jing Take: On the one hand, this move could point to a new direction Bottega is taking under the helm of Daniel Lee, who has been vocal about his ambivalence towards social media. The creative director has never had a personal Instagram account and in an interview with Cultured Magazine admitted that it can be dangerous to the creative process: “Everyone seeing the same things is not healthy or productive. It doesn’t breed individuality.” This distaste for virtual fashion similarly shapes his brand approach. “I didn’t think much of the digital presentations. They felt empty and took so much effort in such emotionally turbulent times, yet in the end the concepts lacked depth,” he added.
On the other hand, Bottega’s social media cleanse could just be a temporary marketing strategy around the brand’s latest collection. Given how the SS21 presentation was kept closed-door — or as NSS Magazine put it, “the very definition of experiential luxury with all the charm of a secret society” — staying offline not only increases the perception of exclusivity around the clothing line but actually helps the brand stand out in today’s crowded digital arena.
Interestingly, Bottega has not gone completely stone age. Its Chinese social media pages, including Weibo and WeChat, are still active, underscoring the importance of the world’s largest luxury market. And with Chinese New Year just around the corner, many brands are looking to cash in — and Bottega is no exception. Although it has yet to unveil any themed items, last year’s collection included red versions of its iconic leather bags.
Although Bottega may be the first fashion brand to go dark, it is unlikely many others will follow. Given the painstaking efforts luxury brands have recently taken to ramp up their digital presence, particularly in China, to throw that all away would have dire implications.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.