- The latest "it" bag isn't a bag it's a pouch .
- The Pouch, as it is known, was designed by Daniel Lee and was one of the first items Bottega Veneta released when he became creative director of the brand in July 2018.
- According to the brand's website , the Pouch starts retailing at $580, with the most expensive one going for $9,200.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The latest "it" bag redefines what it means to be relevant.
The past year has seen the rise of a bag simply known as the Pouch . It was one of the first items released by designer Daniel Lee when he took over as creative director of Italian luxury house Bottega Veneta in July 2018.
Since then, Lee has transformed the brand into a digital-aged darling. Business of Fashion reported that , at nearly $1.3 billion, the brand's sales were up 2.2% (at exchange rate) for the first half of 2019. A big part of this success came from Lee and the Pouch.
"There was no logo, no shoulder strap. It wasn't really that functional, because you had to root around in it," Lee said about the much sought-after bag. "But it was true to the brand because when Bottega began, they made bags that were soft when everything else was really hard."
When Leeshowed up to Bottega in the summer of 2018, a collection was already in the works . He decided to take what was there and rework it. He dipped into the archives, and revived a few items, such as the Lauren Bag as seen on Lauren Hutton in the film " American Gigolo ." Lee took the Lauren bag, "screwed it up on top" and the rest, as they say, is history.
"[The Pouch] had a tactile, soft, sensual, very photogenic aspect to it," Lee continued. "There was so much dimension, so much depth because of the folds, the creases. And obviously objects that photograph well work today when the internet is such an important tool."
The bag is remarkable in so many ways. For one, it has no straps. In a world of crossbody and saddlebags, to make a strapless bag that one must carry in their hands is as rebellious as it gets.
"A bag is something you have every single day," Lee told Business of Fashion. "It contains your entire life. I'm fascinated by the idea that it holds all your secrets."
Then, there is the fact that the bag is logo-less, a clear rejection of street style. It pivots more toward the classic, the chic vintage era which is popping up. Late last year, Virgil Abloh predicted fashion's pivot toward "vintage" , which was then echoed by Nicole Kidman's stylist, Julia von Boehm, who told Business Insider that people would pivot toward "classic" pieces as a counter-reaction to the streetwear trend.
"Now, everything is very classic and reflects the past more than the future," she said. "I do feel that the past right now is something that is reassuring because nobody knows what's in the future."
Appreciation for the Pouch grew organically.Rihanna posted a video of herself with the bag on Instagram in October and as of February 21, the video has over 15.4 million views. Meanwhile, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley showcased hers 39 times in three months .
Kering, the luxury conglomerate that owns Bottega Veneta ,said that the Pouch was the fastest-selling item in Bottega Veneta's history, while global search engine Lyst said the Pouch was being searched nearly 240 times a day, and in the second quarter of 2019 it ranked as the fifth "hottest" women's product, according to the New York Times . This helped raise Bottega Veneta's revenues from nearly 1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) a year to 1.167 ($1.3 billion) a 2.2% year increase.
At the Fashion Awards in December 2019 , the brand won every category it was nominated for: Accessories Designer of the Year, Brand of the Year, British Designer of the Year - Womenswear, with Lee picking up Designer of the Year.
"I was probably the last to know the bags had clicked," Lee told Business of Fashion. "I feel like I was in hiding the whole of that first year. But when the numbers started to show that the Pouch was very quickly the bestselling Bottega bag ever, I was honestly shocked. It was something that was done so spontaneously to get through that first season. It was never something I thought would be so resonant."
No logos. All hands. No play. In a world so socially plugged in, the new "it" bag tells you to look both ways before you cross the street. Bold. Rebellious. It's the future.
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