Marina B., the jewelry collection founded by Marina Bulgari in 1978, has found a new majority owner in Guy Bedarida. Earlier this month Bedarida, who spent 16 years as creative director of John Hardy before leaving the company in 2015, bought a controlling stake in Marina B. from Windsor Jewelers, which is maintaining a minority stake in the company.
“This is one of the most exciting brands available to buy,” said Bedarida of his interest in Marina B. “They’re all part of big groups, and this is one of the last ones that’s independent, which makes it unique.”
Bedarida will serve as the brand’s creative director. The company will be headquartered in New York, where the chief financial officer, chief operating officer and sales directors are based, while Bedarida will maintain work out of Asia, Italy and New York. He referred to Marina B. as a “sleeping beauty.” The collection’s current retail distribution is through Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus only. His initial focus will be to reinforce distribution in the American market through Saks and Neiman’s as well as independent retailers, and then look at the international market. He said opening a brick-and-mortar store in Milan in late 2018 or early 2019 is a priority.
Marina B. has an archive of 12,000 sketches, which Bedarida plans to work with for new designs. He will also introduce new tiers of product, so that the collection will consist of one-of-a-kind designs, the classic Marina B. collection and a new, more casual ath-leisure line that targets the Millennial consumer.
“I won’t call it a secondary line but a complementary line,” he said. “I’m calling it ath-leisure, meaning jewelry that’s smaller sized and much more easy to wear than the statement pieces, something a woman can wear jogging and then wear the same piece in the evening with a more dressed-up outfit.”
Prices will range from $8,000 to $3 million and the first collections will be available in February 2018 for the spring market, though Bedarida said he will organize some private events for the fall of 2017.
Bulgari is a third-generation member of the famous Italian jewelry family. Her own collection became known for its colorful, bold, feminine designs. Some signature motifs included stringing beads without drilling them and smooth triangle-cut gems with rounded edges. She ran the company until 1996. She now lives in Monte Carlo.
Prior to working at Bali-based John Hardy, Bedarida was a jewelry designer for Van Cleef & Arpels and Boucheron. He has been following Marina Bulgari’s work since he was a design student in Italy in the Eighties. Asked why he chose to buy an existing brand rather than launch his own line, Bedarida said, “I think to really develop a jewelry brand, you need at least 25 to 30 years. It was better for me to find a sleeping beauty. It happened that my favorite brand is the one that was for sale.”