Bottega Veneta in Berlin and an answer to the question: How …

The Italian luxury brand Bottega Veneta ignorantly ignores the lockdown mode of a city and also has bad fears for the post-pandemic future of the fashion industry.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, some have wondered how willing the fashion industry is to really rethink. Lip service and assurances abound. Nevertheless, one does not really know whether the complaints about the excess, the too rapid pace and the catastrophic sustainability balance will lead to lasting changes. Or whether this complaint itself is just a kind of pandemic fashion, and at the first opportunity it will be “business as usual” again; perhaps you will even make up for everything you have missed with even more spectacle and fuss.

The downright absurd case of Bottega Veneta in Berlin now suggests something really bad: the pandemic is neither over nor the lockdown in Germany has come to an end. On the contrary, people have to work particularly hard right now to remain patient and to exercise caution until the situation improves.

And now a Milanese luxury fashion brand is steaming into the city, putting on a fashion show in a legendary nightclub (which has now been remodeled into an art museum and has received bridging funds for it). Then she asks the celebrities who have flown in, as if nothing was happening, for a maskless up-close dance at Soho House Berlin – where, as some observers believe, the designer of the brand himself could have been at the turntables.

A meme from the account “Berlin Club Memes”, which probably reflects the opinion of many observers.

Basically, you don’t even know where to start: “Tone deaf” means unmusical in English, but in a figurative sense it is also completely insensitive to nuances and possible implications of a situation. One could hardly have acted more unmusical, in this sense, than those responsible for the Berlin spectacle of Bottega Veneta. This applies above all to the hustle and bustle at Soho House Berlin at night, but basically also to the show in the Berghain Club.

Those who defend this daytime show or the “shooting” for a fashion video, as it is called, also assert how important fashion is as an industry, how many jobs it secures, etc. That is of course true, and one would certainly have can hope that the industry will once and for all disregard the superficiality and foaming that is so often said of it. The inglorious Berlin action by Bottega Veneta now takes some of this hope away again.

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Why, one inevitably wonders about this “Berghaingate”, has almost all other fashion brands been able to switch to alternative digital formats for months and to forego such a “As if nothing was” spectacle with a crowd of celebrities, while this brand – at least part of the Kering luxury corporation and not just any small, independent brand that might have been forgotten about – to have fun in a completely shut down city. If something like that is needed, why not look for a location in a place where the lockdown is being lifted or where less stringent restrictions apply?

And even if the said “shooting” was held in Berghain during the day in accordance with the rules: This spectacle, held solely for the purpose of brand communication, hits all the wrong notes in the current situation. A textbook example of unsuccessful public relations and how a brand harms itself and, by the way, discredits an entire industry.

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