Style Bottega Veneta Leather Guide

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  1. #1 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
    The purpose of this thread will be to present the types of leathers that Bottega Veneta uses, as well as sample swatches to illustrate. This thread will be closed to posting and will serve as a reference. Please submit any information, corrections, or suggestions to me and I will add to the thread.

    There will be a separate thread for discussion of the leather guide in the regular section below. Here is the link:
  2. #2 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
    Nappa (aka: napa) (contributions by Baggiana, jburgh and Wikipedia)

    The Nappa used by BV is lambskin. I have had several vintage Nappa bags from BV that are still in wonderful condition, even after 30 years. Of course they were well cared for, but they don't fall apart. The Nappa is soft and lightweight yet durable.

    The modern BV's hold up beautifully as well. An executive with BV told me that they get their skins from the same Italian tannery as Hermes, and they are the only 2 customers for those leathers.

    This is from Wikipedia: Nappa leather or Napa leather is a full-grain leather, typically dyed, made from unsplit kid-, lamb- or sheep-skin by tanning with salts of chromium or aluminium sulfate, and noted for softness and durability. It is often used in high-quality leather products such as high-end furniture and accessories such as wallets and luggage.
  3. #3 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
    Nappa Umbria (contribution by blugenie)

    Since there has been discussion on the differences between nappa and nappa umbria leather on BV bags, I thought I would contribute my possibly useless photos to the discussion! Useless in that the subtle differences in Limo are so hard to capture in photos that I didn't bother to post pics when I first shot them. :rolleyes:

    Nothing here is to say one leather is better than the other of course - just pointing out the differences.... this is what we know/believe - please correct or add to the list!
    • Nappa Umbria = lambskin that is treated with a special wax
    • Per BV: that wax enhances its appearance & feel; characteristic nuances and streaks of color accentuate over time.
    • Per members:
      • NU appears more tonal in some shades when compared directly to the same color in nappa
      • NU has a slightly stiffer feel than nappa. While it softens over time like all BV, it may never feel exactly as velvety as unwaxed nappa.
      • NU seems a little hardier/more resilient than nappa for wear and tear (but not bullet-proof!).
      • IMO NU leather appears more matte than the same color in nappa, and the leather strips are "chubbier"
    Hopefully some of you have more comparison pics to contribute. My close-ups didn't capture the difference as much as I had hoped, and neither did the faraway shots :girlsigh:



    Note: Sloane is Nappa Umbria, Montaigne is Nappa

    The bag below is Noce nappa umbria (thanks annie999)
  4. #4 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
    Suede (from Wikipedia)

    Suede is a type of leather with a napped finish. The term comes from the French "gants de Suède", which literally means "gloves of Sweden".

    Suede leather is made from the under side of the skin, primarily lamb. Splits from thick hides of cow and deer are also sueded but due to the fiber nature have a shaggy nap. Because suede does not include the tough exterior skin layer, suede is less durable but softer than standard ("full-grain") leather. Its softness, thinness, and pliability make it suitable for clothing and delicate uses; suede was originally used for women's gloves. Due to its textured nature and open pores, suede may become dirty and absorb liquids quickly.

    Bottega Veneta's primary use of suede is in the linings of handbags.
  5. #5 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013

    1. Karung snakeskin is from Acrochordus javanicus. This snake is known as the Java file, or elephant trunk snake and inhabits shallow tropical freshwater lagoons and streams in SE Asia. It is non-venomous and eats fish and eels. An adult Java file can reach 7-8 feet in length. It has really loose skin and a flattened tail for swimming. Pretty!

    Elaphe is harvested from either the Elaphe radiata, Elaphe carinata or Elaphe taeniura. All three are non-venomous, land dwelling constrictors. Will eat just about anything.

    The Elaphe radiata is found in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia/Singapore, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, as well as southern Australia. It is known as the radiated ratsnake or the copperhead ratsnake and can grow 5-6 feet long.

    The Elaphe carinata lives mainly in N. Vietnam, China, and Taiwan. Known as the King ratsnake for it habit of eating other snakes. A large snake that can grow 6-7 feet in length. Found in open forests, bamboo thickets, as well as near houses, both day and night. These also have some sort of stink gland and smell really bad.

    There is another ratsnake used in bags, the Elaphe taeniura. According to some Chinese agricultural data I found, this is the third most used snake in Elaphe leather trade. This snake is known as the "Beauty snake" or the "Striped tail ratsnake." It occurs mainly in China, and lives, hunts as other ratsnakes do.

    Tiger snake is another skin used, but less frequently. It is a highly venomous snake, with an unerring strike, is found in southern areas of Australia and is responsible for ½ of the snake bite deaths in that country. They are called tiger snakes because of their tiger-like stripes or banding and grow to 4-5 feet long. Tiger snakes are territorial and are found in swampy rural and suburban settings. Of the tiger snakes used for leather, is the eastern, or Notechis scutatus. Don't piss it off, lol!

    Burmese python, once very commonly seen, is declining in use. It is becoming hunted in too great a quantity and is getting scarce. The burmese python is Python molurus bivittatus. Native to rain forest areas of SE Asia, it is one of the largest snakes in the world, with the record so far being 27 feet long. It is found as often in the trees as in water. It is an excellent swimmer and nocturnal. A powerful constrictor, these snakes can grow 7 feet in one year and see humans as a food source. Luckily, they are docile in temperament. A breeding population is becoming established in S. Florida due to escape or release of pet pythons. Watch where you swim because you cannot escape!

    Another type of Python is the African Rock Python, or Python sabae. This is one of the largest growing snakes in the world, reaching 20+ feet in length. Pythons are non-venomous, they are constrictors. This species is found in Africa, pretty much everywhere south of the Sahara desert. Unlike the Burmese Python, the African Rock Python is very aggressive and known for a nasty disposition. This large and lethal predator has also established a population in Florida as a result of abandoned pets and abandoned smuggled animals. It is a beauty:


    Attached Files:

    izumi1460 likes this.
  6. #6 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
    More Snakes

    BV also utilizes Cobra skin in their handbags. This is infrequent and usually in LE styles. The main type of cobra used is the Asian spitting cobra. These are found in China and all over SE Asia. Despite their name, these snakes do not actually spit their venom. They spray the venom, using muscular contractions upon the venom glands. When cornered, some species can "spit" their venom a distance as great as 6 feet. The sprayed venom is harmless to intact skin. However, it can cause permanent blindness if introduced to the eye. While spitting is typically their primary form of defense, all spitting cobras are capable of delivering venom through a bite as well. There are several species, but the most often two used in the leather trade are...

    Naja atra, the Chinese Cobra:

    Naja kaouthia, the Monacled Cobra:
  7. #7 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
    Lizard Several types of lizard are utilized by BV.

    One is called Tejus, Tegus, or Tegu.
    From Wikipedia: Tupinambis is a lizard genus which belongs to the family of Teiidae. These large, South American lizards are commonly referred to as tegus; Tupinambis merianae (Argentine Black and White Tegu), Tupinambis rufescens (Red Tegu), and Tupinambis teguixin (Colombian Black and White Tegu, Gold Tegu, or Common Tegu) are all common in the pet trade. Tegus are an escaped or illegally released species that has adapted to living in some of the more remote areas of South Florida.
    Tegus fill the same ecological niche as monitor lizards and are an example of convergent evolution.

    The two most docile and easiest to handle species are the Argentine Black and White Tegu and the Red Tegu. These variations grow from just under 2 feet to a larger 4 feet (gold and Blue tegus being the smallest and red and the black and white being the largest) and have a pleasant nature, making them good pets. Tegus are also one of the most intelligent lizards known.

    Here are some pics of a couple of handsome devils :graucho:



    Attached Files:

  8. #8 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009

    Here is some information on the two types of quality croc, partially taken from the Hermes leather reference:

    Farmed in Australia. Noted for its fine, symmetrical scale pattern.


    Also known as Nile crocodile or Madagascar crocodile and is farmed in Zimbabwe. Recognized by its larger scale pattern than porosus. The Nile croc can easily grow to 18 feet. These crocs take down hundreds of people in Africa every year. It is a stealth attack machine. Known as the living dinosaur, it is perfectly adapted and has remain unchanged for hundreds of years.


    Neither come glazed, rather the shine comes from repeated buffing of the skin with a stone until it reaches a sheen. Matte finish is created by rubbing with felt. Because the skin is not treated, it does not do well in rain. Glazing should not be done more than twice. The reason being that the uneven texture of the skin will leave the glaze uneven on its surface, which may eventually peel and flake with time.

    Same issues with the rain for alligator and caiman, too. I never take out my crocs if there is a forecast of rain. As far as being farmed humanely, perhaps Bryan can answer this. I would hope that the companies like Hermes, BV, Ferragamo, etc, purchase their skins from regulated farms.

    I have seen BV croc in the boutique. The skin looks no different in quality than Hermes, Ferragamo, or Choo.

    I found this posted by Grand Fonds in an Hermes thread: "I can't speak for the other skins/hides, but I know the farm where the porosus croc is sourced is completely humane to it's animals. I have seen it with my own eyes. They even have their own special 'bath', polished up so they don't scratch up their bellies! The RSPCA here is VERY strict on this kind of thing (especially euthanasia), and the croc farm, from what I saw (and I was a Veterinary Science student at the time) complied 100%.
    Porosus croc owners can breathe a sigh of relief!"

    Attached Files:

  9. #9 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009

    The easiest way to tell Alligator leather from Crocodile leather is by the absence of pores. Each Crocodile scale has a little dimple...the DPR (see below), the Alligator does not.

    Here is a little bit about our friend from
    In terms of physical differences the easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that a crocodile has a very long, narrow, V-shaped snout, while the alligator's snout is wider and U-shaped. Because of the wide snout of the alligator it packs more crushing power to eat prey like turtles that constitute part of its diet. The narrow crocodile snout, although still very powerful, is not really suited for prey like turtles but is very versatile for fish and mammals.

    Another physical difference between the crocodile and the alligator is that the crocodile's upper and lower jaws are nearly the same width, so the teeth are exposed all along the jaw line in an interlocking pattern, even when the mouth is closed. They also have an enormous 4th tooth on the lower jaw that is accommodated by depressions in the upper jaw just behind the nostrils.

    An alligator, on the other hand, has a wider upper jaw, so when its mouth is closed the teeth in the lower jaw fit into sockets of the upper jaw, hidden from view. Only the teeth of the upper jaw are exposed along the lower jaw line. Even the enormous 4th tooth on the bottom jaw, which is exposed in a crocodile, is hidden in the alligator.

    Another physical difference is that crocodiles have a lighter olive brown coloration, while alligators appear blackish. Alligators also prefer freshwater while crocodiles like brackish water and sometimes even ocean.

    Speaking to this difference, while crocodiles and alligators both have glands on their tongues, crocodiles still use these glands to excrete excess salt. Alligators seem to have lost this ability, making their tolerance for salt water comparatively brief. Biologists believe this suggests that the crocodile is less removed from its oceanic ancestry.

    Both crocodiles and alligators have dotted sensory pits along the upper and lower jaws that look almost like beard stubble. They detect slight changes in water pressure, thought to help the animals locate prey. These sensory pits were called Integumentary Sense Organs (ISOs) until they were renamed to Dermal Pressure Receptors (DPRs). While both animals have them along the jaws, the crocodile has one on every scale covering its entire body. Some researchers believe the crocodile's DPRs might be linked to detecting levels of salinity.

    It is generally stated that alligators are docile compared to aggressive saltwater crocodiles, and that crocodiles grow larger. While true in general, there are exceptions to every rule among the many species. As an example, the average alligator grows to about 14 feet (4.3 meters), while crocodiles can reach 19 feet (5.8 meters) or more. That said there is one species of crocodile - the African dwarf - that barely reaches 5 feet (1.5 meters). Also, the Indian mugger crocodile has a decidedly U-shaped snout, breaking the V-shaped rule.

    In terms of nesting, crocodiles lay their eggs in mud or sand nests near brackish water, while alligators make their nests out of mounds of vegetation surrounding freshwater.

    Now that you know more than the average person about Alligator, lets talk about the leather. The prime part of the hide is the belly. Holes, scars and blemishes in the belly part of the hide detract from the value and selling price. Larger alligators over nine feet long tend to have calcium deposits called buttons on their bellies and necks. These buttons tend to take dying improperly and are not very pliable. Heavily buttoned hides may have character but are less valuable.

    Finishing and care is the same as Croc.


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  10. #10 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
    Vachette/Vachetta (contributions by: castorny, jburgh)

    A sturdy oil tanned cowhide similar to vache naturel at Hermes, but tanned to resemble Barenia. It is gorgeous, smooth and will watermark and gain a patina. It is the most "natural" and "raw" leather that BV has ever produced. It is almost "unfinished". Vachette scratches easily, but the scratches can be smoothed by rubbing the surface gently. It has a stiffer feel and is much heavier than napa.

    A picture: [​IMG]
  11. #11 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
    Cervo (deerskin)

    Often times one will hear deerskin described at smooshy, chewy, and squishy. The feel of deerskin is supple and soft. It takes color very well - some of BVs prettiest colors translate well in deerskin. Because it stretches easily, most manufacturers pre-stretch the skins before use. Also, it does not spot as readily from water.

    from Wikipedia...
    Deerskin is one of the toughest leathers, partially due to adaptations to their thorny and thicket filled habitats. Deerskin has been prized in many societies including indigenous Americans. Most modern deer skin is no longer procured from the wild, with deer farms breeding the animals specifically for the purpose of their skins. Deerskin is used in jackets and overcoats, professional sporting equipment for martial arts such as kendo and bogu, as well as high-quality personal accessories like handbags and wallets.

  12. #12 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009

    Caiman is the Spanish word for "crocodile." This small member is found in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Tobago, Trinidad, United States, and Venezuela. Caiman are an extremely adaptable species found in virtually all lowland wetland and riverine habitat types throughout its range - particularly as a result of the now-diminished ranges of competitors - although it generally prefers areas of still water. Can tolerate a reasonable degree of salinity. If environmental conditions become too harsh, they will burrow into mud and hibernate. The species Caiman fuscus is most commonly used in handbags. BV will use Caiman on handles and bag trim because of its smaller scale pattern.



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  13. #13 Feb 2, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009

    In the 1970s, ostrich farming for their feathers became popular, and ostrich leather became available as a side product. There are different processes to produce different finishes for many applications, i.e., upholstery, footwear, automotive products, accessories and clothing. Ostrich leather is considered one of the finest and most durable in the world and is currently used by many major fashion houses including Bottega Veneta. Ostrich leather has a characteristic "goose bump" look because of the large follicles from which the feathers grew.

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  14. #14 Feb 3, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
    Stingray (Shagreen)

    some cool history from the leather connection:
    The mystique of the stingray has captivated a select group of artisans and consumers since ancient times. These other worldly, winged phantoms of the deep evolved from sharks more than 200 million years ago. Early cultures became fascinated with their primitive beauty and grace. Possessing a stealth-like aura stingrays can soar through waters at amazing speeds while maneuvering with incredible dexterity. The stingray's remarkably durable, multi-patterned and colored skin also attracted early craftsmen believing this power could be transmitted into their craft.

    The earliest civilizations believed the stingray brought strength and power to anyone who handled it. The backbone, resembling clusters of white pearls, was thought to be a protector of good luck and prosperity. Egyptian craftsmen prized the beauty and durability of the stingray skin by fashioning armor and other decorative items. These were discovered in the tombs of ancient pharaohs. Han and Shogun Samurai also used the raw skins for armor as well as handles on their Samurai swords.

    In more contemporary times, 18th century French artisan Jean-Claude Galuchat fashioned the stingray skin for Louis XV into several commodities such as sheaths, wig cases and snuff boxes. Others colored the skins and combined them with precious metals to make various crafts. But it was English artisan, John Paul Cooper, who took the craft to new heights. From 1899 to 1933 his London studio produced nearly 1,000 artifacts veneered with stingray leather including vases, elaborate boxes, candlesticks and frames.

    The Stingray is any of a class of cartilaginous marine animals of the subclass Elasmobranchii, orders Myliobatiformes (rays) or Rajiformes (skates), found in both salt- and fresh-coastal waters, as well as some rivers, around the world.

    Species/Families of stingray include the round ray, Bat Ray (Myliobatis californica), Manta ray, diamond ray, Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana), Atlantic Stingray (Dasyatis sabina), Yellow Stingray (Urolophus jamaiensis), Blue Spot Stingray (Taeniura lymma), Big Skate (Raja binoculata), butterfly ray (Gymnuridae), Pelagic Stingray (Dasyatis Pteroplatytrygon violacea) and Cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus). There are also freshwater ray species in South America (Potamotrygon Sp.), Asia (Himantura Sp.), Africa, and Florida (Dasyatis sabina). Most species of stingray are neither threatened or endangered.

    Stingray leather is as tough and durable as hard plastic. The leather is often dyed black, or natural colors and covered with tiny round bumps in the natural pattern of the back ridge of an animal. These bumps are then usually dyed white to highlight the decoration. Bottega Veneta occasionally produces L.E. items in Stingray.

    Attached Files:

  15. Barcelona Calf
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