Bottega scion brings trunk show to Karachi – Corto Moltedo displays a gorgeous eclectic collection

Published in the Express Tribune on Spetember 4th 2013
KARACHI: Pakistan’s social elite loves its designer labels. From Hina Rabbani Khar with her Birkin to newly-wed Chinioti teenagers toting Chanel 2.55s, there’s no dearth of luxe label groupies in Pakistan.
On Tuesday, for the first time ever in Pakistan, they got a chance to meet an international designer in person and shop his collection. Top Indian stylist Pernia Qureshi, in collaboration with Labels, presented a trunk collection by rising star Corto Moltedo.

Corto Moltedo

The stylish and charming Corto may not be a household name but designing is in his blood. He is the son of Bottega Veneta founders, Laura and Vittorio Moltedo, and learnt the fundamentals of the craft from a young age during summers at the factory. Bottega Veneta was sold to the Gucci group in 2001 but Corto founded his own label in 2004, a label that reflects his own flamboyant and quirky personality.

Corto is a favourite of fashion savvy celebrities including Sonam Kapoor, Sienna Miller, Jade Jagger and Paris Hilton. A heady mix of bling, quality and style, Corto’s clutches are crafted in luxurious crocodile leather, goatskin, nappa (lambskin), suede or ostrich leather. For this trunk collection Corto chose to display mainly evening bags, keeping in mind the upcoming party and wedding seasons.
The trunk collection consisted of a selection of his Susan clutches, a staple of Corto’s brand – the canvas for huge variety of designs. At his boutiques in Paris and Milan, it is not unusual to see up to a hundred versions of the Susan on display.

There were two distinct classes of clutch in the collection. The Susan Shock is relatively minimalistic with four signature gold squares and was available in various interesting textures. The rest of the collection was gloriously blingy, perfect for pairing with either Eastern wedding wear or Western evening dresses. Inspired by everything from cityscapes to peacocks, the clutches make a bold style statement.

Corto Moltedo clutches
Peacock clutch by Corto


Corto describes his personality as southern rather than northern, warm rather than cool, sun rather than mountain. This very Italian description perfectly fits his vibrant expressive persona and explains why his designs are so different from the minimalist approach of his parents’ label, Bottega.
Corto is definitely a niche luxury label. Only the best materials are used and the quality is superb. A mere eight to 12 pieces are made of each design. The stock never goes on sale and isn’t stocked by any wholesalers or multi-brand stores. Only sold through private viewings and through Corto’s own website and boutiques, the brand is clearly aiming for exclusivity.

He has a clear idea of the type of woman he is designing for. “She is cosmopolitan and independent-minded. She’s a connoisseur and expects the highest quality. Vivacious and fashion-conscious, she prefers to set trends rather than following them,” he says.

Corto has taken his private viewings all over the world. He’s had trunk shows in Geneva, Dubai, Delhi, Jakarta, Singapore, China and all over the Middle East. It’s an interesting marketing technique and probably a smart one for a relatively young brand making its mark on luxury scene.

Pernia Qureshi who introduced Corto in India agrees, saying, “Corto makes some of my favourite clutches and his niche brand has developed quite a following in India. It takes time to introduce a new luxury label to a market, for customers to get used to the brand. It’s not a brand for everyone and so you cannot market it in the way you would market Louis Vuitton, for example.”

Pernia is stylist to stars such as Sonam Kapoor and has styled her in films like Aisha. She first met Corto through mutual friends, when Vogue asked her to host a dinner and a trunk show for him in Delhi. They’ve been friends ever since. Knowledgeable and chic, Pernia has a fantastic eye for fashion and her endorsement is highly prized.

Pernia Qureshi in Anamika Couture and Nasreen Qureshi in Dior couture
Nasreen Qureshi, Pernia Qureshi. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

At the viewing, she paired a purple Susan Shock with stunning Anamika Khanna Couture cape. Her mother Nasreen Qureshi chose an embellished clutch to complement her Dior Couture outfit.

Labels was a smart choice for the trunk show. Zahir Rahimtoola brought together a great selection of Karachi’s high society movers and shakers. This is the crowd that routinely carries Bottega, Alexander McQueen and the highly covetable Marchesa clutches. Corto’s eclectic clutches found some definite fans while others preferred the style of more renowned brands. Corto may not be for everyone, but he’s a designer who’s going places. Karachi’s luxury fashion elite enjoyed the chance to see him in their hometown – for a few short hours, Karachi seemed less of an international fashion backwater.

Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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