MILAN — Bulgari and Carla Sozzani are shining the light on the work of Swiss illustrator François Berthoud.
The Rome-based luxury jeweler and the Sozzani Foundation are collaborating to pay tribute to the expressive illustrations of the artist, who celebrated female beauty and succeeded in blending art and fashion into a single language.
The exhibition, “François Berthoud, Hyperillustrations — Imagining Four Decades of Fashion,” will present a selection of the artist’s emblematic images — including some made exclusively for Bulgari — at the Bulgari boutique in Milan’s Via Montenapoleone on Friday and Saturday and at the Sozzani Foundation, located a few steps away from the landmark 10 Corso Como concept store, starting Saturday until March 27.
“The fashion illustrations and portraits of François Berthoud have an incisive trait, between graphics and painting, between Pop Art and German Expressionism,” said Sozzani. “We are proud to present the work of François Berthoud after more than 20 years from the first exhibition in 1998 here at the Sozzani Foundation, witnessing today the evolution of his language through fashion illustration.”
The exhibition is part of the artistic and cultural projects that Bulgari has been staging in Milan.
“Bulgari continues its tradition of artistic and cultural patronage by bringing back to Milan the works of one of the most famous fashion illustrators of our century,” said Boris Barboni, Bulgari’s managing director for Italy and Turkey. “We felt the Milan boutique was the most natural place to host this exhibition since the city marked the beginnings and success of Berthoud. We are proud to once again open the doors of our maison to the people of Milan and to all those who want to discover or rediscover the illustrations of this extraordinary artist.”
“François Berthoud, Hyperillustrations — Imagining Four Decades of Fashion” follows Bulgari’s collaboration with digital artist Refik Anadol and his multimedia installation “Serpenti Metamorfosi” in Milan’s Piazza Duomo last October. Bulgari partnered with the new media artist and director to create an immersive artwork — claimed to be the first conceived by artificial intelligence for a luxury brand — which was inspired by the concept of metamorphosis, embodied by Bulgari’s signature snake emblem.
A multisensory AI data sculpture, “Serpenti Metamorfosi,” celebrated the beauty of nature through the elaboration and transformation of data by machine learning algorithms.
In May, Bulgari and Sozzani teamed on the the exhibition “Milan — Photographs 1956-1962” by Paolo Di Paolo and presented a selection of the photographer’s images celebrating the city.
Berthoud’s work is characterized by the fusion between the language of graphic art and painting, blending art, fashion and design. Since the mid-’80s, after having worked as an art director, he has devoted himself entirely to art with the publication of books, exhibitions and special projects and contributing to major magazines worldwide. He has long been based in Milan, while also working between New York, Paris and Zurich.
“Only the snake is more dangerous than Bulgari’s dangerously sexy colors,” he said of the jewelry brand’s signature design, which he revisited with his own take in his illustrations.
Fondazione Sozzani was founded in 2016 with the goal to promote the arts and culture with exhibits and events. 10 Corso Como marked its 30th anniversary last year.