THE COLOUR OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN INSPIRED BULGARI’S DAZZLING NEW CAPSULE COLLECTION, CREATED TO CELEBRATE THE OPENING OF THE LUXURY BRAND’S NEW SYDNEY STORE AND ITS DECADES-LONG TIES TO THE HARBOUR CITY.
The deep blue of the ocean, from the shimmering waters of Sydney Harbour to the waves crashing on Bondi Beach. It was this colour that made the biggest impression on Bulgari creative director Lucia Silvestri when she first visited Australia in 1987, and it has stayed with her ever since. So when it came to designing a capsule collection to celebrate the opening of the Italian luxury jeweller’s new Sydney store on Castlereagh Street, that evocative colour was an obvious starting place for her and her team. “We were struck by what a vivid blue the Pacific was, so we immediately started looking at sapphires as a starting point,” Silvestri tells WISH. “This fascination with the vividness of colour also guided the creation of the handbag, and the new embroidery craftsmanship created a glinting shimmer that further connected the creation to the Pacific.”
Silvestri and her jewellery team, based in Rome, joined forces with Mireia Lopez Montoya, head of accessories, and her team in Florence to create a one-off high jewellery necklace and 10 handbags for the exclusive collection.
“We have Australian clients who have shopped with us since our first Australian store on Elizabeth Street in 1998, and we wanted to thank these clients for their loyalty by creating a unique capsule in which true Bulgari style boldly celebrates our strong ties to Sydney,” says Bulgari Australia’s managing director, Brad Harvey. “The idea was to mix some of Bulgari’s most iconic trademarks with stylistic elements of Australia and Sydney.”
The high jewellery necklace consists of 43 roundcut blue sapphires set against hundreds of diamonds. It took six months to design and was created by a single craftsman, as are all the pieces in Bulgari’s high jewellery collection. The design was initially inspired by the coloured fan-shaped mosaics of Rome’s second-oldest public bathhouse, the Baths of Caracalla.
“The Divas’ Dream motif of the fan is one of the most iconic signs of Bulgari and takes inspiration from the Baths of Caracalla,” says Silvestri. “It is striking in its architectural similarity to the sails of the Sydney Opera House, so it was the perfect sign to combine the two cities.”
When it came to the limited edition handbag, Bulgari’s famous Serpenti Forever bag with its snake head motif was chosen. But the Florence design team took the bag up to the next level of craftsmanship, Montoya says, by using more than 25 materials in its construction.
Each bag took 72 hours to make, including embroidering with pearls, turquoise lapis and Swarovski crystals to form the body of the snake.
“To deliver the Sydney specificity to the creation, we developed a dedicated nuance of our royal blue colour to create the Bondi Blue, through a tailored technique to obtain the desired nuance and transparency,” says Montoya.
The design of the Castlereagh Street store, due to open in August, is the brainchild of architect Peter Marino, who has rolled out a new interiors concept for Bulgari after redesigning the brand’s flagship store in Rome in 2014. Harvey says the store will encapsulate “a little piece of Rome” while reflecting the history and heritage of Castlereagh Street in Sydney’s CBD.
“Bulgari opened in Sydney in 1998 and was one of the very first luxury jewellers to arrive,” he tells WISH. “In recent years the Australian market has matured significantly, with the arrival of other international jewellers, and that highlighted the need to reinvest in the physical experience evoked by our store.”
Above: Bulgari Serpenti Forever Limited Edition handbag in Bondi Blue Python; right: Bulgari High Jewellery Divas’ Dream Eleganza necklace in white gold with blue sapphires and brilliant-cut and pavé diamonds Stockist: Bulgari 02 9233 3611