PRE­CIOUS CARGO Who says a bag can’t be ev­ery bit as or­na­men­tal as a diamond neck­lace? Cer­tainly not Bul­gari. By Clare Ma­clean.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The News -

“Our bags are not so well-known, be­cause we only sell them in our jew­ellery stores,” says Mireia Lopez Montoya, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Bul­gari’s ac­ces­sories busi­ness unit. “A Bul­gari bag has to be dis­cov­ered.” She ges­tures to­wards the Au­tumn/Win­ter 15 col­lec­tion, which is to­day be­ing show­cased on mar­ble plinths in the buzzy bar area of Mi­lan’s Bul­gari Ho­tel. In a world where the ma­jor­ity of lux­ury goods are ready and wait­ing to be snapped up online 24 hours a day, there is some­thing rather de­li­cious about a brand play­ing hard to get. Of course, the bags that stand be­fore me may very well be harder to ac­quire than most, but they’re cer­tainly not hard to miss.

This sea­son, the Ital­ian house has looked to its high-jew­ellery roots and history of cel­e­brat­ing coloured gem­stones for in­spi­ra­tion, which trans­lated to gen­er­ous lash­ings of ocean turquoise, denim sap­phire, vi­o­let amethyst, tiger’s eye and ruby wine hues. But as Montoya points out as she picks up a Ser­penti For­ever flap bag in red galuchat (stingray skin), the theme far from ends at coloured leather. “This one has been treated to make it pavé – the diamond ef­fect makes it very, very spe­cial,” she says, mov­ing the bag gen­tly from side to side to show off the glit­ter­ing scales.

And as al­ways, ref­er­ences to Bul­gari’s iconic Ser­penti, a con­stant pres­ence in the brand’s jew­ellery and time­pieces, play an in­te­gral part. Per­haps the most eye-catching­eye catch­ing IN

T HE M N A ex­am­ple in the col­lec­tion is the me­tal han­dle on the Ser­pen­tie Scagliee bag, which O K

I C N mim­ics the body of Bul­gari’s reptile mas­cot. I G “Each one ac­tu­ally starts off as a flat petal and then it’s ham­mered ed to close like a flower," says Montoya. "Then, one by one, each flower is hand-in­serted nd-in­serted into the other un­til it’s long enough to be­come a han­dle.” The ef­fect ct is a bag that’s al­most a jew­ellery piece in it­self.

Are they cre­ated in the same place as the brand’s high jew­ellery? “TheThe bags are made in Florence, which is the best place to make leather­goods ds in the world, and our jewels are made in Rome,” says Montoya, “but ut we learn from the jew­ellery crafts­man­ship. Our ar­ti­sans go and visit­sit the work­ship in Rome to ob­serve be­cause we try to make our bags in line with the crafts­man­ship of our jew­ellery.”

There are also other, more sub­tle nods to Ser­penti in the pieces,s, such as the graphic laser-cut scales on the Ser­penti For­ever flap bagg that re­veal a me­tal­lic layer of ayer [wa­ter snake] skin un­der­neath a smooth leather top­coat, cre­at­ing a three-di­men­sional ef­fect.

This year also marks a spe­cial an­niver­sary in the Bul­gari uni­verse, with the brand’s cir­cu­lar “Bul­gari-Bul­gari” em­blem cel­e­brat­ing the big 4-0. The cre­ative team has paid trib­ute with a new sig­na­ture style. “This is our logo bag, which is here to stay," says Montoya.

To­day, she is the bag's best ad­ver­tise­ment. Has she de­vel­oped oped a favourite? "Sap­phire," she says swiftly. A woman af­ter our own heart. rt. The pieces are ham­mered into shape and joined by hand Blog­ger Sta­cie Chen car­ry­ing a Ser­penti For­ever bag in Paris

Pair­ing sporty luxe and vivid reds at Mi­lan Fash­ion Week

Model and blog­ger Ella Catliff at Paris Fash­ion Week

Bul­gari's Mireia Lopez Montoya

Ser­penti Scaglie bag, Bul­gari

Ser­penti For­ever bag, Bul­gari

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