DESIGNER 101

Bottega Veneta 101:
The Pouch

By Delaney D, May 20, 2021

Bottega Veneta Pouch

Proportion, balance, and unity indicate good design.

It’s no surprise that the Bottega Veneta Pouch achieves all three. Although it is simplistic in design and name, The Pouch has become one of the most popular and iconic Bottega Veneta bags. 

 

Rachelle Only
The Pouch made of Intrecciato leather in white. Courtesy British Vogue.

The Pouch is the brainchild of current Bottega Veneta creative director Daniel Lee. When Lee arrived at the house in June 2019, his predecessor Tomas Maier had left an unfinished collection. Lee decided to take what was there and rework it. Inspired by that iconic Bottega moment when Lauren Hutton held an intrecciato-weave Bottega Veneta clutch, later named The Lauren, under her arm against her Armani trench coat in the 1980 classic American Gigolo, Lee decided to take the style and add his own touch. The result was The Pouch.

Lauren Hutton holds a Bottega Veneta
Actress Lauren Hutton holds a Bottega Veneta clutch in the 1980 film American Gigolo.
Courtesy The Cut.

But, it wasn’t easy to convince the merchandising department to carry the Bottega Veneta minimal, soft, and squishy leather handbag. The Pouch’s impracticality made for a difficult fight. “There was no logo, no shoulder strap,” explained Lee to Business of Fashion. “It wasn’t really that functional, because you had to root around in it.” 

Despite its hurried entrance into the world, The Pouch became one of the hottest bags of 2019, and according to some, one of parent company Kering’s best selling bags — ever. The Bottega Veneta Pouch bag was named the World’s Most Wanted product in 2019 by shopping search engine Lyst and helped win Bottega Veneta Brand of the Year in the British Fashion Council’s 2019 Fashion Awards. But, Lee had no idea that The Pouch would be a hit. “When the numbers started to show that The Pouch was very quickly the bestselling Bottega bag ever, I was honestly shocked,” Lee told Business of Fashion. “It was something that was done so spontaneously to get through that first season. It was never something I thought would be so resonant.” Clearly, the bag made an impact on the public, as it remains one of the most popular bags in the Kering stable. 

An It Bag for It Girls

After its debut in July 2018, The Clutch became a viral sensation for both influencers and celebrities. According to Paper magazine, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley posted hers on Instagram nearly three dozen times in three months. Rihanna, another Bottega fan, wrote, “Thank you for spending all my money on Bottega bags,” on an October 2019 Instagram post, where she tagged her stylist Jahleel Weaver. Salma Hayek Pinault, whose husband François-Henri Pinault is the CEO and chairman of Kering, the French luxury conglomerate that owns Bottega Veneta, also has one. Kylie Jenner, Arielle Charnas, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are also admirers of the It bag. 

 

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley with the Bottega Veneta Pouch.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley with the Bottega Veneta Pouch.
Courtesy Grazia.
Rihanna with her Bottega Veneta Pouch
Rihanna with her Bottega Veneta Pouch.
Courtesy British Vogue

Investment Value

Bottega Veneta’s value retention has increased by 10 percent since Lee’s arrival at the brand, reports Rebag’s 2020 Clair Report. In 2019, the year Lee showed his first full collection for Bottega Veneta, it was 28 percent, and in 2020 it reached 38 percent. According to Clair, Rebag’s appraisal system, the Bottega Veneta offer price for the standard Pouch will stay consistent for the next six months. 

Social Media Star

The Pouch is no doubt camera-friendly. That’s why model and influencer Huntington-Whiteley posted it so much. “This bag had a tactile, soft, sensual, very photogenic aspect to it,” Lee told Business of Fashion. “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.” Not only will this photogenic bag get you tons of likes on Instagram, but you are also bound to turn some heads with it IRL. 

Sizing Breakdown

Classic/Large

The classic or large size is a glamorous addition to any outfit. It is a traditional clutch with no straps or handles attached to the bag. You can, of course, carry it in your hand, but it looks extra glamorous tucked under your arm. It’s large enough to hold essentials and generally very versatile. 

Mini

If you can’t get enough of mini bags, then Bottega has you covered, as they offer a mini version of The Pouch. The Mini Pouch comes with a thin leather strap that allows the wearer to transform it into a crossbody or shoulder bag. The mini is perfect for a night out or for someone who travels light. 

Materials And Hardware

Part of the draw of the pouch is its simple construction. It’s constructed of a single piece of leather wrapping around a hinge top frame. It has a singular compartment which is blind-stamped with the brand’s name and “Made in Italy.” The bag’s frame also acts as a magnetic closure and comes in either a silver or gold finish. Except for the hinges of the frame and a D ring, there is no visible hardware on the bag. The Pouch comes in various materials and textures, like the classic and smooth Nappa, calfskin, and lambskin leathers, as well as Bottega’s signature woven Intrecciato calfskin. As with all Bottega bags, the uncomplicated design allows the craftsmanship to shine through. 

Special Editions/Color Range

Currently, the large bag comes in seven colors, and the mini bag comes in eight colors (for both the smooth and Intrecciato leathers); You can also get both sizes in silver or gold textured leather. Bottega has released a wide range of special edition Pouches since its inception in 2018. This season, Bottega has released The Pouch in a few novelty materials and prints such as cork, raffia, zebra print, and craft paper that is made from 100 percent recycled cardboard and leather. 

The Pouch Leather Large

The Pouch Leather Large

The Chain Pouch Leather

The Chain Pouch Leather

The Shoulder Pouch Leather Medium

The Shoulder Pouch Leather Medium

The Pouch Coin Purse Leather

The Pouch Coin Purse Leather

The Pouch Leather 20

The Pouch Leather 20

The Pouch Intrecciato Nappa 20

The Pouch Intrecciato Nappa 20

The Body Pouch Leather Small

The Body Pouch Leather Small

The Cork Pouch

The Cork Pouch
Courtesy The Glass Magazine

The Chain Zebra Pouch

The Chain Zebra Pouch
Courtesy Hypebae

The Craft Paper Pouch

The Craft Paper Pouch
Courtesy Metro

The Pouch is sleek, well proportioned, and has an elegant silhouette. It masters handbag design for the modern age, allowing its wearer to scroll with one hand and hold the bag with the other. But It also reminds its wearer to be more conscious in the world as there isn’t a way to attach the bag to themselves. It’s a fashionable reminder to be present and in the moment.