As of 5 January 2021, fans looking it up on Instagram were greeted with a ‘Page Not Found’ message. It deleted not only its Instagram account but also its Twitter, and had hidden all posts from its Facebook page. The blackout is doubly notable as it came right after the exclusive presentation of its Spring 2021 collection it dubbed ‘Salon 01 London’ in October.
A new direction?
Fans and industry experts were quick to speculate the reason behind it. Was this a new direction Bottega is taking under the helm of new creative director Daniel Lee? Lee has always made his disdain for social media clear, being someone who has never had a personal Instagram account. He once said to Cultured Magazine how he saw social media and its distraction as a danger to the creative process.
In his words, “Everyone seeing the same things is not healthy or productive. It doesn’t breed individuality.”
He has applied the same belief to his approach with the brand since taking over, particularly when it comes to virtual fashion shows that most fashion brands have resorted to now.
“I didn’t think much of the digital presentations. They felt empty and took so much effort in such emotionally turbulent times, yet in the end the concepts lacked depth,” he added.
Or a publicity stunt?
Going off the radar to get tongues wagging is nothing new (just ask one Miss Taylor Swift who has time and again cleared out her Instagram feed at almost every launch of a new album).
This could be a temporary marketing strategy for the brand and its latest collection, which was presented closed doors. It’s an effective one, one which plays with the thrill and secrecy of experiential luxury where only an exclusive select are privy to it instead of being streamed to the whole world.
Additionally, staying offline will not only build the perception of exclusivity, it might just help the brand stand out in today’s overly saturated digital arena. It certainly has got people talking, and articles written about it, as in this instance.
You can run but you can’t hide
It’s important to note that Bottega only went offline on select platforms; it didn’t disappear completely. It’s still online on its Chinese social media pages, namely Weibo and WeChat, proving the importance of an online presence in the China, aka the world’s largest luxury market.
The idea of a billion-dollar brand making its way through fashion weeks and consumer shopping behaviour without social media is extremely titillating, but the Bottega Venetta ‘Careers’ section of its website may hold the answer. Over a month ago, it’s listed a post for global social media manager. Perhaps this is one of the new manager’s strategy to refresh and restart the new year with a literally clean slate? Or perhaps it’s the new person’s idea to go totally off the grid.
Whichever it is, we won’t find out on Instagram.