There is, reassuringly, none of this at Bottega Veneta, and not because it is uptight. To the contrary, the company specializes in a sort of controlled flamboyance. Its most outré pieces are the ones designed with the most detail and care, lest you mistake lightness for slightness.
The new store — the Maison, as everyone inside referred to it — takes up a shocking half-block of Madison, a five-floor behemoth in a building that’s the combination of three 19th-century townhouses.
I came for the intrecciato, same as you’d go to the Jets game for the existential misery or to Peter Luger for the steak for two. It is the company’s quintessence, a crosshatched leather weave that runs through the shoes, the shirts, the wallets and almost everything else. Because the motif is so signature, the things around it don’t have to speak as loudly.
My first nice wallet, many years ago, was a stone-colored intrecciato, and I’d been interested in a simple card holder in color-blocked pink and purple ($250). The first floor is almost all accessories, weaves from wall to wall. Hidden drawers opened to reveal card holders, wallets and billfolds in a riot of colors (though unfortunately, not the one I’d come for).
It was all quite easy to admire, and when it came to the tote bags and backpacks, almost tear-inducingly expensive: for an ostrich tote, $9,000; for a sensible color-blocked half-intrecciato tote, $3,400. (There is a collection of New York-themed items to celebrate the store opening, though they are inessential.)
I headed for the fourth floor for men’s clothing and was immediately joined by Victoria, part sales clerk and part detail-oriented tour guide. (In most stores with multiple categories, you get passed off when you move between them, but not here.)
I came for the intrecciato but found myself gravitating to the snakeskin. If I’ve been steering my personal aesthetic in any one direction in recent months, it’s been modernist Mafioso, a clash of the gaudy and the elegant.