Paying tribute to Bulgari’s artistic contributions to design, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will present “The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950-1990” at the de Young Museum from Sept. 21 through Feb. 17.
The exclusive exhibition of approximately 150 pieces follows the museum’s fashion-related shows “Cartier in America,” “Balenciaga and Spain,” “Yves Saint Laurent” and “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.”
“This is the first time Bulgari has been shown in an American museum, which shows that it is an interesting enough jeweler for a museum to treat its products over the years as works of art and fine examples of design,” said Martin Chapman, curator in charge of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museums.
Chapman worked closely with Bulgari’s historic consultant, Rome-based Amanda Triossi, who helped develop the company’s archives while she was researching her first book on Bulgari in 1994.
While the 129-year-old jewelry house has had American customers since before World War II, Bulgari did not open a U.S. store until 1972, in The Pierre hotel in New York. By then, most Americans knew of the famed Bulgari pieces that Eddie Fisher and Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor, several of which are featured in the exhibit.
Bulgari’s cultivation of prominent patrons and movie stars like Taylor, Sophia Loren and Ingrid Bergman has long been a key aspect of the jeweler’s reputation. To help explore the cultural context in which these objects were made, the exhibition will include innovative uses of sketches, photographs and other archival materials that highlight the intersection of celebrity, design and craftsmanship. The exhibition will also feature old advertising images and interactive holograms.
Another key element shown is Bulgari’s departure from traditional jewelry design. “Moving away from the popular Parisian style of the Sixties, Bulgari struck out in a new direction with bold cabochon jewels, weightiness and a style rooted in its own Roman origins, such as the coin,” said Chapman.
The house notably began to embrace colorful combinations of semiprecious and precious gemstones, heavy use of gold and forms derived from Greco-Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance and the 19th-century Roman school of goldsmiths. Bulgari helped develop a look that would come to be known as the “Italian school” of jewelry design.
“Regardless how expensive the pieces are, there’s the idea of casual formality that is really the link with Italian style,” said Triossi. “You can wear the same jewelry to a picnic or a ball.”
The exhibit also includes pieces from the Seventies and Eighties, a particularly innovative period for the jeweler influenced by Pop Art and other contemporary trends.
“The hard-edged designs of the Seventies included a whole range based on the Stars-and-Stripes motif, while in the Eighties the Parentesi collection had a smoother, modular, almost architectural presence; both show how the jeweler could lead in new directions with a strong sense of design,” said Chapman, noting, “Andy Warhol once said he thought that Bulgari was the greatest contemporary art museum in the world, which says a lot coming from an artist.”
Also notable are three never-before-seen serpent bracelets on loan from a private collector. Although one of Triossi’s jobs is to buy back important vintage pieces as they come up for auction, her spending power has been diminished as prices have gone up, and many collectors from the Sixties are still holding onto their pieces, untouched by “the three Ds: death, disease and divorce,” she said.
She surmises the show will be popular because “jewelry has transcultural appeal. There isn’t social strata that isn’t interested in jewelry. From Indian beggars to American rock stars, everyone’s interested.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty