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Bottega Veneta - Experiencing leather luxury (October 7, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)

Woven leather or intrecciatto - Wikipedia

I have a favourite shoulder tote that I bought at Target a few seasons ago. It’s silver and black fake-leather strips woven together, and even strangers in line-ups will comment, “Nice bag”. It looks like a million bucks but I paid less than $20 for it. I love it, and I’ve just discovered in researching this post why it looks so good – it resembles a Bottega Veneta handbag.

Bottega Veneta is the Italian fashion house whose signature design element is .....woven leather, especially in handbags. Established in 1966 the name Bottega Veneta translates as  “Venetian atelier” and the company’s artisans developed a leather-weaving technique, called intrecciato, which they now use not only on handbags , but other accessories, such as shoes, belts and jewellery, as well as fabrics. Bottega Veneta products are beautiful, luxurious, and unimaginably expensive – their Cabat bag lists for $14,200 in their New York store on Fifth Avenue.

Now Bottega Veneta has launched a perfume which is based, of course, on leather. It’s a floral chypre, envisioned by Tomas Meier, the Creative Director of Bottega Veneta, and developed by perfumer Michel Almairac, the nose who created Armani Privé Cuir Améthyste and Gucci Rush, among others. From the Bottega website, “the fragrance, a leathery floral chypre, marries the olfactory language of the Venetian countryside—fresh meadows, mown hay, flowers, earth, and wood—with the gentle richness of leather in a creation crafted with the meticulousness of a master artisan.” An article in the October Harper’s Bazaar about Tomas Meier, says the new fragrance “smells like the inside of a brand-new Bottega bag that’s held a bouquet of crushed jasmine.” And it does.

Having had my nose, and at times entire body, immersed in Chanel’s Cuir de Russie for the past week, I’m absolutely certain I know what a leather fragrance smells like. But when I get my first sniff of Bottega Veneta on my skin, I’m taken aback, and, well – surprised. I can’t smell the leather. I smell citrusy soft jasmine and some spice, but not leather; a few minutes later the scent sweetens a little with caramel notes, but not leather - the scent is very soft and quiet.

The leather shows up in the dry down, but it’s not Russian leather, or saddle leather, or Rolls-Royce seat leather. This leather note has a fruity tinge to it, softly scented like peach or apricot skin, and as the dry down continues I smell an elegant, rather than earthy patchouli, and green oak moss – the chypre emerges fully formed. It’s a superbly lovely scent, floral but not too sweet, leathery and rich but not overwhelming, with a milky powdery waft that makes it elegant and extremely wearable. That milky quality, which I find so perfectly feminine, recalls the best parts of Almairac's Gucci Rush, which I love and still wear occasionally.

Bottega Veneta has a unique leather note. According to Denyse Beaulieu of Grain de Musc, who attended a launch of the perfume in September and spoke with Almairac  “…the leather accord…sprang from the combination of a brand-new synthetic with a natural material he knew well. But he won’t say what’s in it”. He says “I’ve been looking for that leather smell for years." This is fine leather, sueded and soft, beautifully crafted, the olfactory manifestation of the Bottega handbag – Harper’s Bazaar got it right.

Harper’s Bazaar quotes Meier: “You know there’s stuff that’s created just for a very short life span. But this is not the case here… My priority was to create a scent that makes a statement, and that will last in time”. On the surface the scent seems quite simple, but as I’ve worn it the past few days, I’ve realized that Bottega Veneta is extremely well-designed – created from top-quality materials, perfectly balanced, elegantly luxurious , with a timeless quality to it. Tomas Meier got it right, too.

The best thing is that Bottega Veneta eau de parfum is NOT expensive – at least by their handbag standards. It comes in a curved frosted glass bottle designed by Tomas Meier, with the woven intrecciato design impressed on the bottom, and a thin leather ribbon tied around the cap – a  little bit of Bottega Veneta luxury. Makes me lust after one of those bags…yeah, in my dreams! I'll never own one, since I can find a lot better use for a few thousand dollars - which makes my favourite Target bag now even more precious to me.

Bottega Veneta is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.