Photo: Jason Lloyd-Evans

2020 saw the world going phygital; brands extensively used social media to bridge the digital world with the physical world, creating a unique experience for customers. This year looks to be no different, with the fashion world set to continue merging URL and IRL. So, in a world where digital presence is increasingly crucial to a brands’ success, where has Bottega Venetta gone?

Early in the new year, team Bottega took the unusual decision to delete all their social media accounts. Whilst no official communication has been put out about their choice to go dark, team Grazia couldn’t help but speculate.

Bottega’s rise under current creative director Daniel Lee has been nothing short of spectacular. Whilst Kering group reported that bigger brands under their portfolio, such as Gucci and YSL, were hard hit by the pandemic, Bottega saw an almost 10 per cent rise in sales. Such is the awe of the brand that a fan account, New Bottega, was created early on in Lee’s tenure to simply chart the brand’s visual output. Has the brand simply just become so in-demand that sales will skyrocket without the need for brand-approved mandates being pushed out over social media?

Lee was a protégé of the ultra-private Phoebe Philo at Celine. Despite being firmly in the millennial age bracket, Lee has never had a personal social media account and been quoted on several occasions parlaying his disdain of social media. During her tenure, Philo managed to turn Celine’s stores into coveted sanctuaries of style without having so much as an e-commerce website. Could it be that Lee is hoping for the same effect?

Whilst the official Bottega account may be MIA, influencer and celebrity accounts will still be a guaranteed way of attracting attention for the brand. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a big fan and is often seen posing on her insta in its latest creations. Sparking much conversation last year were Bottega’s lime green puddle boots which made a huge splash (please excuse the pun) on social media. Hailey Bieber was spotted in their Dhs33,000 fringed coat, while friend Kylie Jenner’s red sequinned Christmas outfit was also courtesy of the brand. Maybe this was their strategy all along? Become so luxurious that news of the latest offerings travels strictly by word of mouth, creating an aura of exclusivity. Brands like Hermès have long abided by such strategies, which has customers willing to get on year-long waitlists for their products.

Whether this is a smart marketing technique, a way to plan a digital comeback, or simply the height of sheer luxury, Bottega Veneta’s sudden departure from the digital sphere has definitely got tongues wagging.

Photos: Jason Lloyd-Evans and Instagram