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The magnificence of Bulgari

Lola Saab talks to Amanda Triossi, who has curated the last two Bulgari exhibitions in Roma and Paris, with plans for a third in Beijing
PHOTOGRAPHED BY Pascal Le Segretain, Marc Piasecki and Marc Ausset-Lacroix, FOR GETTY IMAGES, AND COURTESY BULGARI

 

Bulgari at the Grand Palais Two icons come together Paris’s Grand Palais, playing host to Bulgari, showcasing 125 years of magnificence in December–January.

 

ON DECEMBER 9, 2010, 125 Years of Italian Magnificence: Bulgari at the Grand Palais in Paris was inaugurated, welcomed by a number of red-carpet celebrities including Juliette Binoche, Julianne Moore, Lenny Kravitz and numerous others. The exhibition, held for a limited time only at the museum’s nave (from December 10 to January 12) embraced the true radiance of the art and attractiveness of Sotirio Bulgari’s designs and creations.

 

The “black diamond”, beneath the Grand Palais’s glass dome.

 

Sotirio Bulgari created luxury, grace, an essential beauty and as the name of the exhibition suggests, magnificence. Upon entering the exhibition, visitors arrive in a beautifully large shaped area in the form of an opened “black diamond”, placed directly below the Grand Palais’s glass dome. The sunlight gleaming from the exterior is strongly reflected upon the black diamond, emphasizing a precious stone’s interior finery. A large portrait of Sotirio Bulgari welcomes visitors to his universe of exquisiteness and sophistication.

The exhibition is divided into seven rooms. They are dark but the diamonds and precious stones are projected as glistening lights. The walls are decorated with pictures of movie stars wearing Bulgari accessories as a touch of allure and glamour.

A crowd of enthusiastic people of all ages wait in line to look at a total of 603 stunning jewellery pieces. A range of Bulgari accessories includes earrings, clips, brooches and alarm clocks, just to name a few. Precious stones vary, including diamonds, rubies, emeralds, turquoise, amethyst and jade, projecting a collection of colours absolutely blinding to the eye and creating an array of luxury.

Bulgari jewellery was very popular amongst a number of leading female movie stars including Ingrid Bergman and Sophia Loren; however, Elizabeth Taylor was especially a great fan. The Elizabeth Taylor Collection at the exhibition is solely devoted to Taylor’s personal collection with a total of 16 Bulgari pieces. Taylor once said, ‘One of the biggest advantages of working on Cleopatra in Rome was Bulgari’s nice little shop.’ She even wore Bulgari jewelry in movies, adding an extra spark in motion pictures.

In 2009, the first Bulgari exhibition in Roma was entitled Between Eternity and History: 1884–2009. There, as visitors viewed certain historical aspects, they also witnessed splendour that will last for an eternity.

This exhibition highlights the changes and evolution from one decade to another. In the 1930s, convertible jewellery was very popular. It was designed in divisions, transforming from a bracelet, to a brooch or even to a clip. The 1970s were inspired by pop art: fun and stylish creations. Longer necklaces (des Sautoirs) and larger forms were en vogue during this period. Andy Warhol, the famous pop artist, once said, ‘I always visit Bulgari, because it is the most important museum of contemporary art.’

In the 1970s, Bulgari went international, opening shops in Paris, New York, Monte Carlo and Genève.

Many visitors at the Bulgari exhibition described their experience as a way of ‘allowing themselves to dream.’

We spoke to Amanda Triossi, curator of the Bulgari vintage collection, who shared with us her point-of-view and perspective.

 

continued

 


A pair of clip brooches in gold with sapphires and diamonds, c. 1945. Each of palmette design set with six cabochon sapphires and a line of pavé set diamonds.


Serpent bracelet-watch in gold with polychrome enamel, c. 1965.


Emerald and diamond necklace, owned by Elizabeth Taylor.


Choker necklance in gold with sapphires, diamonds and blue enamel, c. 1975.

 


Juliette Binoche


Bianca Brandolini d’Adda


Aissa Maiga


Nicola Bulgari, Bulgari Vice-President, Sarah Marshall and Jean-Claude Jitrois

 


Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.

 

 

 

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Adapted from issue 25 of Lucire

 

 

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