We’re programmed to go through Fashion Month on the lookout for the one item—or one trend—that the industry has decreed “it.” There’s no official prize or badge, just a sudden awareness of “it”: You start noticing how every influential editor, blogger, model, and styling person owns it, and makes it look pretty darn good. As the fashion crowd traveled from New York and London to Milan and Paris in September, it became clear that “it” was a pair of quilted mules from Bottega Veneta, a result of the brand’s new creative direction under Daniel Lee.
Even if you’re not acquainted with the phenomenon that is the new Bottega Veneta (@newbottega on Instagram), you’ve definitely come across the accessories that have come to represent it: oversized clutches, heels, and sandals with puffy or patchwork-style quilted detailing.
They’ve become so ubiquitous among the fashion set—in street style, on Instagram, in everyday conversation—that Fashionista even did a deep dive into the marketing strategy surrounding the accessories du jour. Even Mrs. Bieber has been photographed wearing them.
New Bottega is getting all the buzz (and rightfully, given that its mules and clutches were some of the most photographed pieces of Fashion Month), but quilted detailing isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel in accessories. You have houses like Chanel and Valentino, who’s quilted bags, flats, and pumps have long been a mainstay in the luxury space. What has happened is that more brands—like Bottega, and also Gucci and Prada—have been revisiting and modernizing it for today’s shopper: adding a puffer effect here, a new colorway there. And already, the mass market is taking note.
Bottega Veneta’s highly-coveted Padded Sandals (which are available for pre-order on its site) will cost you a pretty penny. (They retail for just under $800.) But quilted shoes run the gamut of style and price point: There are fall-ready ankle boots around the $200 range, or easy slides and slip-ons under $50; you can go elegant with a pointed-toe mule, or super casual with a sneaker-moccasin hybrid.
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