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Photo Galleries : Luxury Crafting. Bottega Veneta.

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When Tomas Maier, the creative director of Bottega Veneta, was scheduled to appear on the show in early October, I was quite thrilled to say the least. When it came to my attention that he would not only be showcasing a selection of Bottega handbags, but would also be accompanied by the actual Italian craftsmen who make the bags, I was overzealous. The brand secrets exposed?! I was extremely intrigued and made it my goal to learn a new technique from these fine artisans.

I went to the rehearsal of the segments in the morning before the show. I was "purse paparazzi" that A.M.—focusing in on the minute details of the handbags on our set. Tomas talked about the intrecciato style of weaving, a technique the Bottega artisans study for three years before they become official Bottega craftsmen. Two intrecciato weaving techniques were shown. Tomas showed how two full pieces of leather, in the shape of the final bag, are machine cut with a pattern of tiny slits. Through the slits, thin strips of leather are hand woven. The technique is used to make the Veneta style handbag.

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the Lilac Veneta.

1 the Lilac Veneta.

the Lilac Veneta on the set

2 the Lilac Veneta on the set

process pieces of the Veneta

3 process pieces of the Veneta

close up of the weave for the Veneta style bag

4 close up of the weave for the Veneta style bag

a selection of clutches. all woven in different materials.
Check out the tray's edge– it's woven too!

5 a selection of clutches. all woven in different materials. Check out the tray's edge– it's woven too!

The artisans demonstrated the double sided leather weaving technique on bag forms in 3 stages. It was apparent that these women were experts . This technique truly needs training! The unreal Ebano Cabat bag is made with this technique. A wearable piece of art...

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the Ebano Cabat.

1 the Ebano Cabat.

the Ebano Cabat bag form.

2 the Ebano Cabat bag form.

Step one in weaving the Ebano Cabat.

3 Step one in weaving the Ebano Cabat.

Step two in weaving the Ebano Cabat.

4 Step two in weaving the Ebano Cabat.

Step three in weaving the Ebano Cabat.

5 Step three in weaving the Ebano Cabat.

Hand stitched bottom leather piece of the Ebano Cabat.

6 Hand stitched bottom leather piece of the Ebano Cabat.

Close up of the hand stitched leather bottom piece of the Ebano Cabat.

7 Close up of the hand stitched leather bottom piece of the Ebano Cabat.

the artisans tools

8 the artisans tools

a close up of the finished weave

9 a close up of the finished weave

I learned that trying to recreate one of these bags would be an almost impossible endeavor, but having always been enthralled with this brand, my fingers were itching to attempt intrecciato. My results weren't perfect and on top of weaving leather for the first time, I had to also teach myself how to install my first zipper. I am very excited though, to now have my very own handmade Bottega Veneta (pronounced BO-teg-a VEN-eta) inspired coin purse!

my Bottega Veneta inspired wallet.

handmade luxury now homemade!

Comments (5)

  • wow! impressive!

  • OMG Kristin your coin purse looks AMAZING. I'm in love with Bottega's bags but even if I attempted to make this at home, doubt I could get your neatness, especially at the edges. And how did you sew on the zipper so neatly?

    You are totally unbelievably awesome.

    Congratulations!

  • These are simply divine. And to think, if I practice enough, I could make them myself and not just wish I could afford these beauties.

  • wasn't this an inspiring segment on the show. I tried to make a small bag weaving ultra suede but cutting into perfectly straight strips was impossible! But I did enjoy the weaving technique. reminded me of the boiled wool woven blanket (grey and yellow) from the magazine a while back...

  • Hey Kristin, that is beautiful! and well done, too. I think of you often reliving the moments we worked together before my segment with Martha the next day. Especially when I look at the p-touch transparent labels on the craft table, next to each element.

    Just keep on "demystifying" all those details, you are great! Thank you again for the wonderful experience of meeting and working with you. //Bill Maltsberger

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