Guest Column: Francesca Bellettini is the next head of a major American luxury brand without a clear artistic direction

Bottega Veneta, the historic luxury brand, has a new designer. She is Francesca Bellettini and she was formerly the president of Jean Paul Gaultier. It is hard to imagine she is in charge of any fashion house – but in fact she is.

Bellettini moved into the executive role at Bottega Veneta almost by accident but it has been fashionable for some time. In fact just a few years ago, the brand lost its President and Creative Director Tomas Maier who left to open his own label, Maison Martin Margiela. The brand has been run by Condoleezza Rice and Michele Norsa.

Since 2015, there has been no named President or Creative Director of Bottega Veneta. And it was a sad realization for those who have loved the brand and built it into a star status synonymous with the city of Rome.

While Bellettini was hired to run the direct sales business as President of Bottega Veneta Italy, a role that involved a wide spectrum of retail, accessories and fashion activities, she did not show any interest in the brand being the creative force of the label. And though it was clear that management and power structure was keeping her away from a design position, she continued to be contracted by the company to ensure the business generated strong sales and high order entry levels for its retail doors, flagship stores in high tourism cities and its ecommerce service.

Just as Beth Taylor was the next Macy’s president after Lew Winslow, Bellettini is the next head of a major American luxury brand without a clear artistic direction. There is nothing wrong with the fashion industry hiring fashion professionals but she is not a fashion designer and given the ever changing consumer trends, someone of Bellettini’s talents, she doesn’t need to be fashion.

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