WORDS BY STEPHEN YU
What Daniel Lee has achieved at Bottega Veneta is one of modern fashion’s most captivating comeback stories. The former director of ready-to-wear at Céline, Lee’s modern reinterpretations of Bottega’s heritage house codes – particularly his instantly cult square-toed mules and mesh sandals – have helped cement his reputation as the second incarnation of Phoebe Philo. But it was one of his earliest bag designs for Bottega that has become his most enduring and impactful: the Pouch.
Understated yet instantly recognisable, Bottega Veneta’s oversized clutch has taken the fashion world by storm. Nicknamed ‘the dumpling bag’ or ‘the cloud’ due to the distinct way the leather folds and envelopes around its frame, the Pouch encapsulates everything that Lee is bringing to ‘New Bottega’; mixing the craftsmanship of the past with the artistic aesthetic of the modern.
Bottega is a name synonymous with high-end luxury thanks to the quality of its leather, and the Pouch is no different. Made from buttery-soft calf leather in either smooth Nappa or the house’s trademark Intrecciato weave, it has a leather lining that ensures it’s just as luxurious on the inside as it is on the outside. The ultimate statement piece this season, the Pouch comes in an array of dazzling colours, from rich cognacs to vibrant pinks. Read our Bottega Veneta pouch review to discover the best size for you and your everyday essentials.
If you’re looking for a Bottega Veneta clutch that can also go hands-free, then the Mini – aka the ‘Pouch 20’ – comes with a thin leather shoulder strap, making it one of the more practical of Daniel Lee’s designs. You can wear this Bottega Veneta Pouch crossbody or under the arm by adjusting the strap with a simple knot, while the strap can also be tucked inside for that iconic Bottega clutch aesthetic. The Mini is the definitive Bottega Veneta small Pouch (although not the smallest – that’s the Coin Purse) with enough room for an iPhone 11 Pro, a powerbank, small wallet, keys, sunglasses, lipstick and powder, making it the ideal everyday option.
Shop the Bottega Veneta Mini Pouch Edit
Torn between the strap of the Mini and the size of the Classic? Then this Bottega Veneta Pouch with a chain is a happy medium. Wider and deeper than the Mini yet not quite as big as the Classic, the Chain Pouch also comes with a square-ringed chain strap. Reassuringly heavyweight, the strap is the perfect length to be worn under the arm – or on the back of the shoulder for the full Bottega Veneta runway look – and can be removed to create a lightweight clutch. With its extra width, the Bottega Veneta Chain Pouch can carry everything the Mini can, plus longer objects like a large wallet and small umbrella.
Shop the Bottega Veneta Chain Pouch Edit
The original ‘Maxi’ is the largest of the Bottega Veneta Pouch sizes – it’s also the one you’ve seen all over your Instagram feed. Designed to be held as a clutch, the frame of its magnetic snap closure is the perfect handle, making for a comfortable in-hand experience. Though you won’t be able to squeeze a small laptop inside, there’s enough room for an 11” iPad Pro and a large notebook, as well water bottles, scarves and other accessories – this Pouch looks best when it’s fully filled to enhance its shape. What we love most, though, is the internal D-ring, which makes rummaging for keys a thing of the past and could even be used to attach a wrist strap.
Shop the Classic Pouch Edit
A new-season evolution of the original Bottega Veneta Pouch, the Shoulder Pouch transforms the brand’s signature clutch into an under the shoulder hobo bag. While the size is the same as the Classic, this feels like a more functional take on the Bottega Veneta large Pouch – the soft strap helps take the weight of a full bag onto your shoulders and out of your hands. If you do want to carry it as a clutch, slip your arm through the strap and hold it from underneath for fashion-editor-approved styling.