With Industrial Videotape, Bottega Veneta Gets the Warhol Treatment

Bottega Veneta, “When Your Own Initials Are Enough” tagline as it appears in Interview, December 1978. Photograph by Kenyon Anderson.

When, in 1974, Andy Warhol relocated the Factory to a new Manhattan location, he employed all manner of security measures and booby traps to keep his creative enterprises safe. Six years after Warhol’s shooting by Varlerie Solanas, the Factory’s third iteration was envisioned as a safe haven— bristling with security cameras, and outfitted with bulletproof doors and a secret back staircase to allow the pop icon to make a speedy escape if a disgruntled visitor should make their way inside. One of the Factory’s more intriguing deterrents, noted by the former Interview editor Bob Colacello in his memoir Holy Terror, was to hire bilingual receptionists to befuddle unwanted guests. 

Installed in the building’s foyer, creative hopefuls from faraway lands hoping to hone their English were employed as secretaries and greeters. One such transplant was Laura Moltedo, a young Venetian woman. “When Signorina Laura answered the phone with ‘Ciao’,” Colacello recalls, “Most of the nut cases assumed they had the wrong number and hung up.” Warhol, impressed by Moltedo’s gift for warding off evil, eventually hired the young Italian as his personal assistant— but neither of them could have anticipated the ways that their relationship would soon shift. 

In the late 1970s, Moltedo was handed the keys to Bottega Veneta by Michele Taddei her ex-husband and the co-founder of the Italian luxury label. As creative director, Moltedo breathed new life into the House, zeroing in on intricately-woven leather goods and making inroads into the U.S. market.

Soon, Bottega Veneta became synonymous with sophistication, expert craftsmanship, and subtle glamour, represented in a new tagline: “When Your Own Initials Are Enough.” Moltedo reunited with her former boss, to publish the 2-page ad spread exclusively in Interview‘s Bianca Jagger-covered December 1978 issue.

The campaign, which embodied the company’s commitment to individuality, became iconic almost instantly. According to Factory myth, the legendary tagline originated from the lips of Warhol himself. So, it’s no surprise that nearly 44 years after its debut, Bottega Veneta revived the famous “Initials” tagline with its latest campaign for the Cassette bag—an accessory that has come to symbolize a continual commitment to craftsmanship, and mastery, as well as a deliberate logo-less approach that allowing the label’s silhouette’s to speak for themselves—with a pop inspired, new Warhol-inspired campaign.

The campaign also features signature “Bottega Green”–a brand signature since the 1985 release of the short film that Warhol directed for the Italian house. Somewhere between a Merchant-Ivory flick and an episode of Beverly Hills, the film, Bottega Veneta Industrial Videotape, flashes from scenes of intricate leather-making processes to clips of well-heeled Madison Avenue and Beverly Hills shoppers, all set to Madonna. Below, take a look at some exclusive stills from the nostalgia-heavy, rarely-seen film.