Words by Nicola Ferlei-Brown
Bulgari’s designs are much about the magical city of Rome. Which is why the designer debuted an exhibition about it’s main muse, ‘Bulgari & Rome: Eternal Inspiration’, at their New York store, with 40 timeless pieces that directly reference Italian monuments. In fact, it was behind the Spanish steps, on Via Sistina, that the founder of the brand, Sotirio Bulgari, first established his business, in the 1800’s.
More than that, Bulgari are donating €1.5 million Euros to renovate the Spanish steps, the 18th-century Baroque-style stairway, which merges the church of the Trinità dei Monti and Piazza di Spagna. Expected to be finished by Spring 2016, the steps will be “restored to the whole world in all their beauty and splendour,” Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said.
It was in Rome, that Richard Burton bought gift after gift for Elizabeth Taylor, while the two were shooting the 1963 film Cleopatra in the city. The exhibition includes a cigarette case, covered in ancient Roman coins, which the couple presented to the films Director, Joseph Mankiewicz, and his wife, Rosemary Matthews. It reads, ‘To Our Favorite Producer and Wife / Lest we forget the glamour of it all / All Love / Elizabeth & Rich’, explains Daniel Paltridge, the North America president of Bulgari.
“Rome has always been the number one source of inspiration for Bulgari so it is right to give back to Rome what Rome has given Bulgari,” the jeweller’s CEO Jean-Christophe Babin said as work began.
Diamonds and decadence
The Monete collection, introduced in the 1960s, is set with ancient Roman and Greek coins. “Incorporating forms of currency into the designs speaks not only to Bulgari’s heritage, but also its experimentation with materials,” adds Boscaini, the head of the brand’s archives in Rome.
Bramante’s staircase of the Vatican Museum becomes a bracelet
A gold necklace and earrings from 1992 inspired by the Pantheon
Below: Bold bib necklace with different colour sapphires and diamonds arranged in a pattern reminiscent of the basalt pavement of the Appian Way – 2005
A ring inspired by domes in Piazza del Popolo
Bulgari’s latest collection is inspired by Italian Renaissance gardens, such as the Villa Borghese, on their doorstep, with flora and fauna in mind, by the exquisite Italian design team.
The eternal dialogue between art and nature is embodied in majestic jewels and extraordinary watches.
Domus and divas
In Rome, the Bulgari store has also created a display named Domvs, boasting the story of the Brand and of its stylistic evolution, and displays images and belongings of the unforgettable divas whose extraordinary charm was celebrated by Bulgari creations: Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Anna Magnani, Ingrid Bergman, Anita Ekberg, Gina Lollobrigida and many others, located on the first floor of the historic store in Via Condotti 10.
Domus, which means house in Latin, is a space for Bulgari admirers, who wish to immerse themselves in its world, experiencing the decadence of the skilled craftsmanship and 130 years of its history. They will also hold cultural events, performances, and private exhibitions of works of art.
There is a trend at the moment, for the private sector to help restore UNESCO monuments in Rome, which began 3 years ago with luxury shoemaker Tod’s financing restoration works at the Colosseum. Fendi followed suit by refurbishing the Trevi Fountain, and Bulgari the Spanish steps. ”No other country has the fusion between style and fashion”, boasts Beppe Modenese, Italy’s Minister of Elegance.
It’s brilliant that big-wigs in the fashion industry are making sure that La Dolce Vita doesn’t decay and disappear. Which means, if you buy a bit of Bulgari, you are also helping Rome.
For more details on Bulgari’s DOMVS space, which is exclusive and accessible by appointment only, contact:
DOMVScondotti.email@example.com or +39 06 688101
Published in Bello Magazine, Issue #99, December 2015