An eternal magic
Bulgari Goldea The Roman Night takes Grace Wong on a nocturnal adventure through the storied streets of the eternal city
Unpacking the romantic new Bulgari fragrance
It’s 7:30pm in Rome and the late spring sun is yet to set on the ancient city’s beating heart. The approaching summer has made the days longer and warmer, yet this moment has the sense of being particularly drawn out. Earlier in the day, barricades were erected around Piazza di Spagna at the base of the Spanish Steps and now a crowd has gathered to see who or what will be appearing on the empty steps (a rare spectacle in itself).
These 135 steps are on the bucket list of every world traveller with a penchant for pop culture, and most famously starred alongside Audrey Hepburn in William Wyler’s 1953 comedy Roman
Holiday. Yet even for those of us who aren’t movie stars, an evening spent strolling around this Via dei Condotti landmark is only marginally less cinematic. Rome is a city built for theatre, and one that showers romance on even the most banal of scenes. Anyone could spend hours entranced
by tourists wielding cameras, locals taking in the sights on their ritual evening passeggiata, and shoppers darting in-and-out of stores in the nick of closing hour.
But tonight, as the crowds soon found out, Bulgari’s taking over. The Roman jewellery house financed the refurbishment of the steps, a feat completed in late 2016, and now they set the scene for the unveiling of Goldea The Roman Night, a fragrance that celebrates the electricity that lingers in the Roman air. That anything-canhappen magic cast from the city’s history, culture and power paired with a gritty cityscape rich with discoveries at every corner.
For Bulgari’s Italian CEO, Jean-Christophe Babin, Rome’s appeal starts not with its architecture, but its citizens. “It’s the people, there’s a lot of joy,” he says. “And the magnificence of the surroundings, spanning across close to 23 centuries of history and architecture. Nowhere else but Roma do you have this kind of inspiration, of contrasts, volumes, colours and power as well. We [Bulgari] have powerful scents, powerful jewellery. And this has been a powerful city across the centuries.”
If there was any disbelief among the guests, media and throngs of onlookers beyond the fountain, it was quelled when campaign star Bella Hadid waltzed down the steps, a vision in a gleaming corseted gown, dripping with Bulgari jewels.
Bella had been spotted in town the day before, instantly sparking rumours of romance. Hadn’t she just been in Cannes? Was she here to meet a man? This kind of star power, teamed with Bella’s particular brand of highwattage millennial style, mirrors the audacious, adventure-seeking woman Goldea The Roman Night is designed to be worn by. There’s a family connection too. At the press event a few hours before her evening reveal, Bella coyly told the story of how her father gave her mother a Bulgari bracelet for their wedding day, and how her mother had then gifted it to Bella on her 20th birthday.
Goldea The Roman Night is the third of the Goldea fragrances, all of which were composed by Spanish master perfumer Alberto Morillas. While the series is not a single unfolding narrative, Morillas says it maintains the same spirit throughout, from the bold floriental of Goldea, to Rose Goldea’s spring garden and latest edition’s recreation of a magnificent city after dark. “Roma is a very intriguing city, when you walk in the street in daytime or at night, you have the same sensation of creativity. It’s emotional. It’s not just the nice palazzos or very nice gardens because you smell immediately the flowers. For me, all of this is my inspiration,” he says.
“Nowhere else but Roma do you have this kind of inspiration, of contrasts, volumes, colours and power as well.”
Bulgari campaign star Bella Hadid
The Spanish Steps formed the backdrop for the launch of Bulgari’s new fragrance
Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin and Bella Hadid on the Spanish Steps
Roisin Murphy performed at the launch of Goldea The Roman Night