Out of bounds
depth as a woman. She was very passionate, with values and strong beliefs.”
Boscaini spent several years curating Tribute to Femininity. “It has been a long ambition of ours to put our Bvlgari heritage on display at the Moscow Kremlin Museums,” she says, “as it’s one of the most credible museums in the world for jewellery. They have a beautiful permanent exhibition and, more than that, they have a very deep appreciation for and expertise in jewellery.”
With 511 items on display, spanning from the late 19th century until the 1990s, it may not be the biggest heritage exhibition Bvlgari has ever hosted but, as Boscaini explains, it’s certainly very significant. “In terms of content, it’s very important. For this kind of exhibition, it’s not only the jewels that are of importance for visitors, but also the stories and the images related to them.” Some 85 percent of the pieces are from Bvlgari’s Heritage Collection, with the remainder from private collectors.
According to Boscaini, Bvlgari has increased its buy-back activities in recent years. “For Bvlgari, heritage is a matter of identity. The more we protect our heritage and what’s unique about it, the more we’re able to convey this identity. Our archive is full of sketches and documents, of course, but the jewels are at the core. If you only look at a piece of jewellery in a picture, you miss a lot of the details that can only be appreciated on the actual piece. But we’re not buying back every jewel Bvlgari has ever produced, just the right pieces that demonstrate the evolution of our style and craftsmanship.” Several exhibits have never before been on public display, such as a dazzling tiara with blue aquamarines, worn by the Italian princess Olimpia Torlonia on her wedding day.
“The tiara now belongs to a family in Rome who have links to many royal families. It wasn’t originally made by Bvlgari, but remodelled by us at the owner’s request to make it more wearable. The aquamarines, for example, can now be removed,” Boscaini explains.
Tribute to Femininity traces the close association between Bvlgari’s creative output and the demands and evolving tastes of women, changing in parallel with female emancipation. Alongside the cultural and social changes in women’s history, the creations on display celebrate the charisma of women who made their own rules and chose Bvlgari jewels as an embodiment of their personality for both formal and informal occasions.
The stunning jewellery anthology explores and highlights many hallmarks in Bvlgari’s storied history, unfolding through an immersive narrative that’s complemented by photographs and other visual aids. But it’s the jewels — once owned and worn by film stars, aristocrats, prominent socialites and businesswomen — that are the real stars of the show.
These spectacular pieces are vivid mementos of the styles and trends of the eras in which they were created, whether it was the roaring 1920s, the dolce vita period of the 1960s, or the pop art 1980s – the latter demonstrating Bvlgari’s funloving and non-conformist spirit.
Other impressive pieces come from the collections of the actresses Anna Magnani, Gina Lollobrigida and Anita Ekberg, royalty such as the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan and Baroness Carmen Thyssen-bornemisza, and socialites like Barbara Sinatra and Lyn Revson — among others.
One section of the exhibition showcases the icons of Bvlgari’s creativity as well as pioneering motifs and techniques that subverted the traditional approach to jewellery, of which the Parentesi jewels — Bulgari’s fi rst modular collection — are a shining example. Nor would any Bvlgari heritage exhibition be complete without a tribute to all the emblems of the company’s Roman roots, from pieces featuring ancient coins that convey the brand’s reverence for the past, to many extraordinary variations of the sinuous Serpenti (spanning over four decades).
The golden thread that runs through all the creations, according to Bvlgari’s Creative Director for Jewellery, Lucia Silvestri, is creativity and quality. “For me, every decade represented something new, but it was still Bulgari. That’s my challenge, too… to ensure that our designs continue to evolve, while remaining unmistakably Bvlgari. Mr [ Paulo] Bulgari always says, ‘ One eye to the past, and one eye to the future.’”
Tribute to Femininity runs until January 13, 2019 at the Moscow Kremlin Museums, and is on display on the ground floor of the Assumption Belfry and on the ground floor of the Patriarch’s palace at the Moscow Kremlin Museums.
FROM TOP: KITTY SPENCER, ALICIA VIKANDER AND LILLY WITTGENSTEIN AT THE OPENING OF THE EXHIBITION, HELD AT THE HISTORICAL PASHKOV HOUSE; TIARA IN PLATINUM WITH AQUAMARINES AND DIAMONDS
FROM LEFT: SERPENTI SECRET WATCH IN GOLD WITH EMERALDS AND DIAMONDS; SAUTOIR NECKLACE IN GOLD WITH EMERALDS, RUBIES AND DIAMONDS