Food, feasts, festivals... Celebrate Italian culture with Bulgari’s Festa collection. By Windy Aulia
From top: The Peperoncino necklace in platinum, green tourmaline, rubellite, amethyst and diamond. The Peperoncino earrings in platinum, emerald, ruby and diamond. The Olive necklace in white gold, peridot, amethyst, tourmaline and diamond
From Mexico’s Day of the Dead to Thailand’s Songkran, a country’s festivals speak volumes about its culture, history and traditions. And, when it comes to celebrations, no one parties quite as hard as the Italians. “From the time we are children, right into our adult life, Italians celebrate many festivals around the country; we find any occasion to create a party,” Lucia Silvestri, Bulgari’s High Jewellery Creative Director, shares during the preview of its latest high jewellery collection, Festa. Centred around three main themes—childhood memories, traditional festivals and nobility—Festa can be described as Bulgari’s most joyous high jewellery offering yet.
It goes without saying that food is a major motif. After all, what’s a festival without a feast? “I had to create a cake in the collection,” Silvestri exclaims. The Torta Al Cioccolato and Torta Al Pistacchio rings look positively delectable, and the Torta Alla Ciliegia ring is the cherry on top of this range. Coral and agate inserts are set into the pink gold ring, layer by layer, before being adorned with a sizeable cabochon-cut ruby and finished with pavé diamonds as dustings of icing sugar.
In the course of designing this collection, Silvestri and her team travelled to different parts of Italy, tasting different cuisines and visiting different festivals—“To explore the theme, especially in the South of Italy, where the chilies and olives [are so good],” she chuckles. Set in platinum and spiced with green tourmalines, rubellites, amethysts and diamonds, the Peperoncino necklace, is served with a soupçon of sensuality, complete with shapely comma cuts. The Olive necklace, which has already been sold to an admirer, comes in a lariat style and uses cabochon-cut peridots, amethysts and tourmalines, offset by diamonds in abundance. Giampaolo Della Croce, Bulgari’s High Jewellery Senior Director and Silvestri’s closest confidante, dishes, “Lucia has started making a choker version of the Olive necklace,” noting that each creation should be unique.
Palio di Siena, a horse race that dates back to the 1200s and is still celebrated today, also served as an inspiration for the collection. The colourful flags of the 17 contrade (“districts” in Italian) that participate in the celebration are meticulously replicated into miniatures and used as panels on necklaces and bracelets. Like pieces of a puzzle, Silvestri’s design team matched malachites, tiger eyes, corals, onyxes, lapis, mother-of-pearls and turquoises.
“I love the cakes, chillies and olives, but my favourite is the ‘principessa’,” Silvestri confesses. “One of my best friends is a princess. I got great inspirations from her.” The result is a selection of intriguing, attention-grabbing necklaces and bracelets. “It’s very inspiring to select Italy’s most extravagant princesses in history [as inspiration], as their world is very classic. But [when Lucia asks] to use only two or three colours for each piece, you are pushed to think outside of the box,” Della Croce muses. The most known “princess” amongst them all is, of course, queen of the silver screen and one of Bulgari’s most famous clients, Elizabeth Taylor, who inspired The Green Liz, featuring a 59.11 carat cabochon-cut emerald as the centrepiece.
When asked about the pillars of Bulgari’s jewellery designs, Silvestri arrives at these four points: Creativity, contemporary, femininity and timelessness. It’s this mixture of elements that has resulted in Festa, a collection that pushes cultural boundaries with wit and humour. “The Festa woman has to be enthusiastic about life, open-minded, confident, young in attitude (not age), and not overwhelmed by the jewels. She has to be the one wearing the jewels,” Della Croce elaborates. “It’s really important to mix and match the jewellery pieces. They’re wearable works of art. You should wear them out, not just put them in a safe or reserve them for the red carpet. [You can] wear them with jeans and t-shirts too,” declares Silvestri, before adding: “We really had a good time creating Festa. It’s all about the happy things that we enjoy from the beginning to the end,” she concludes with a smile.
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