It was the color of fashion, or at least it was for fashion people. When there was Bottega Veneta, few cared about Pantone’s grays and yellows. Although Daniel Lee, an ex-designer, had played with the color in his earlier collections of clothing, he was all over the “Bottega Veneta green” creations for the brand’s spring 2021 show. Models walked in a green room, wearing green knit dresses and leather shoes. Green suits were worn and bags carried. This vibrant green was released at the end of Lee’s three year stint. It, along with the Pouch bag and the Puddle boots, grabbed the attention of the public and helped the Italian luxury label to unprecedented popularity. Lee described the label as a “sleeping giant” at its inception. When Lee announced his sudden departure from the label, many also wondered about the green. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times fashion critic, tweeted “No more BV Green?” on November 10. “No more pouch bag? Oh boy!”
Although Matthieu Blazy has been appointed as the new creative director, it is not clear what this will mean for Lee’s legacy. Bottega Veneta will continue to embrace the virally-hyped shade of green. Blazy may want to introduce his own colorway. Perhaps a Blazy blue.
It would be foolish to claim that BV Green was created by Lee in a vacuum. This is especially true when big, bold greens have been rising up in collective consciousness for many years. Greenery was Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year. It was the most popular color in the last decade. Next came “neomint,” a strange, off-putting color that interior designers hailed as the next big thing. “Dakota Johnson’s kitchen cabinets were my favorite green, although that is a niche obsession. Though Granny Smith’s color was often seen on the backs of avant-basic influences thanks to Instagram favorites brands such as Paloma Wool or House of Sunny.”
“Slime green” is the most likely precursor to BV-green. That bright, bratty and brash-colored highlighter was everywhere for a few years. It felt like an antidote for the peach soft tyranny that millennial pink brought. Slime green was not gentle and natural. It was loud, obnoxious and self-aware. It was digital green, reminiscent early internet culture and ’90s aesthetics. It was ugly. This was part of the point.
Our favourite picks:
- BOTTEGA VENETA The Puddle Biodegradable Rubber Ankle Boots – $650.00
- BOTTEGA VENETA Mini The Pouch Leather Clutch – $1550.00
- BOTTEGA VENETA Leather Belt – $320.00
Green has a reputation as being difficult to wear. This is likely due to its history as a color associated with wickedness, witches and sin. (Yes, ghosts.) Slime green, BV’s bold, matte green, was a prominent color from the beginning. Although it wasn’t the only color Lee used at Bottega Veneta’s, it was the most important. Perhaps because of its similarity with slime green.
There are a few different options for green if you visit the Bottega Veneta website to order a Bottega Veneta woven leather bag. There are three options: the pastel minty “fountain,” “mallard” and the bright, emerald “racing Green,” which can be found on everything, from leather goods to knitwear and ready for wear. Hailey Bieber has been photographed in Bottega Veneta feathered pants wearing it. In Instagram, she has posted additional evidence of her parakeet love, including photos featuring the brand’s leather bags and puffer vests, as well as shoes.
What is a parakeet? It’s a Kelly green bird with an avian name. Although we have no expertise in budgerigars as a species, our observations suggest that their feathers are more brown. We can confidently say that no parakeet in the world looks anything like Bieber wearing a leather puffer. It is flatter and more saturated that the neon-loud slime. It’s lighter and more saturated than emerald, shamrock, and chartreuse. But that doesn’t sound very exciting or grand. If the brand knew how difficult this green would hit, they might have called it “Bottega Veneta Green.”
According to etymologists Kelly green is derived from a common Irish surname. While Americans tend to associate it in America with sports teams and St. Paddy’s drinking culture, the color was once significant to the Irish independence movement. It was adopted as a symbol by the Irish Home Rule movement in the 18th century. It is still displayed on the Irish flag today, separated by the orange stripe by an area of white. It’s unlikely that the hue has any historical significance, given that Bottega Veneta and Lee are both English.
Bottega Veneta’s perception of the color and Lee’s work as a whole was transformed by this use. Bottega Veneta was not known for making loud statements. Bottega Veneta’s “stealth wealth designer” status was confirmed by the New York Times in 2008 with an article entitled “You’ll know How Much You Spent.” Unlike immediately identifiable logo bags and other leather goods, Bottega Veneta’s leather goods are not intended to promote wealth. They were meant to show off taste.
The brand was able to do things differently under Lee’s leadership. Bottega Veneta was more visible than ever. Although it could disappear from social media but its trendy pouch bags were seen by so many influencers, Fashionista began an investigation into the phenomenon. Bright green was also hard to miss, appearing on Every It Girl and even as an installation in Seoul. It was immediately recognisable, distinctive enough to be noticed but not too alienating. It was versatile too. On some models, the green color looks traditional and preppy. It looks cool and subversive on others. On leather, the Kelly Green looked very strange and sculptural. However, on knits this color felt fuzzy and cartoon-like. It was a Kindercore dream. This chameleon effect is common in all bright colors, but green feels more interesting than Louboutin or Hermes red.
It’s also a very familiar color. It’s the color of a well-kept yard. It’s not natural, but it looks like a well-kept lawn. This green equivalent to topiary seems to me. It’s a controlled, surreal, and alive form of nostalgia. It was able to turn ordinary objects like rubber rain boots into instant hits, which is important at least for a brand’s financial success.
Our favourite picks:
- BOTTEGA VENETA Lido Maxi 90mm Sandals – $1300.00
- BOTTEGA VENETA Green Mini Jodie Bag – $1900.00
- BOTTEGA VENETA Slider Rubber Slides – $390.00
It is notoriously difficult to predict color trends. It’s more than picking a pretty color. It’s also about how it interacts and reflects light. It doesn’t really matter if you call it parakeet, Kelly green, or BV green; it will always be associated with Lee’s time in the company.
Although BV green is not a special color, it was the most important during the summer 2021. It was the color that captured the zeitgeist. The feeling of relief many were feeling, the desire for public life to make a splash and to feel one with nature, the desire. Blazy might decide to drop the color, and the rest of the items could be even more desirable, coveted, and resold for many years, just like Marc Jacobs’ Louis Vuitton pieces or Tom Ford’s Gucci pieces. It could also be a flash in the pan, a trend that fades just as fast as Lee left the company. It is difficult to say. It’s hard to know. Personally, we believe it is indicative of a shift towards more defined colors, shapes and looks. Pre-pandemic years were dominated by pastels and their wishy-washy ways. It is time for something new.