The Enterprising Founder of Bottega Veneta: How a Former Luxury Booker Saved His Clothes Giant

-I Have New Bottega Veneta President and CEO Stefano Sassi Jeanne Marie Loyd Sassi took over from Marco Bizzarri in May of this year and after a few strategic hires at the head of…

The Enterprising Founder of Bottega Veneta: How a Former Luxury Booker Saved His Clothes Giant

-I Have New Bottega Veneta President and CEO Stefano Sassi

Jeanne Marie Loyd

Sassi took over from Marco Bizzarri in May of this year and after a few strategic hires at the head of the company’s Italian factories, Bottega Veneta officially celebrated the opening of its newest flagship location, a total investment of more than 25 million Euro’s, at its renovated flagship in Milan, Italy on Wednesday.

The new home displays a mixture of art and high-end furniture–with a house color red. A spokesperson for the brand declined to reveal the price tag of the new stores because “they all cost very, very much more than we would make as a discount. It is a matter of how the budget is allocated.”

According to WWD, Sassi, who ran Fiat Group’s luxury lines from 1994 to 2002, is a fan of the brand’s ties to Italian design.

Sassi is one of the few men in Italy still making decisions on and off the factory floor, a sort of hand-picked fanatic.

“I like Gianfranco Ferré because he was very democratic. He picked the best people from all the cities. He moved us to Paris. He’s the one who moved us from Paris to Rome. He created a big family that never stopped loving him,” Sassi told WWD.

The designer is not your typical retail mogul. He did not set out to become a business person. Sassi spoke with The Huffington Post about the recent ordeal that nearly killed him.

“I went to college and got a degree in journalism. And in 1994, a friend of mine told me, ‘Send us your resume to Fiat. They are looking for someone for the brand, and we want you to come to Italy.’ I said, ‘Fine! I don’t know any German people. They are speaking English. I’ll try.’ So I sent it in English. We had to close when I finished my internship and because it was Christmas, I came into the office and they asked me, ‘What is your name?’ I said, ‘Jeanne Marie Loyd.’ And they called my uncle and told him I would be with him. So a very unadventurous decision,” Sassi said.

That decision changed his life. He began working at the company as an intern before working his way up to head of the luxury lines in February 2002, where he retired in September 2008, just months before the company went into bankruptcy.

“As an internship, I was never a consumer, but I was a curator. I loved the house because they were the first luxury brand to open in Rome when there was this sense that fashion was being lost to the street,” he said.

Now, the company has a new artistic director for shoes and bags. Stéphane Rituit, a French freelance designer known for their elaborate bags featuring unusual mechanics.

“We continue to work from a very honest point of view; believe in craftsmanship, believe in art,” Sassi said. “I don’t like the idea of being like all the other company presidents. With the last CEO, we did things a little bit wrong. We were moving a lot of products in a hurry and didn’t find the right balance.”

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