"Beauty is my Favourite Colour" portraits

PORTRAITS OF LADIES: For the first photography exhibition showcasing his one-of-a-kind jewels, Giampiero Bodino wanted to highlight Italy — but steer away from the obvious.

“I didn’t want the Tower of Pisa, St. Mark’s Square or the Coliseum. What I did want was another angle on Italy, different landscapes, colors and surfaces,” said the bearded Italian jeweler, who looked every inch the Victorian gentleman as he pointed to a series of Guido Taroni photographs on display at London’s Spencer House.

The show, Beauty Is my Favourite Colour, is filled with painterly portraits of 15 ageless Italian beauties — most of them old friends of Bodino’s — wearing his big, dramatic jewelry: Long earrings made from sparkling fish and bubbles, necklaces with multiple colored crucifixes and collars shining with gemstones as big and bright as gumdrops.

There’s Martina Mondadori Sartogo in velvet against a patterned Lorenzo Mongiardino; Bianca di Savoia Aosta Arrivabene and two of her daughters against the milky blue skies and pale lagoon of Venice; Maria Mantero swathed in russet fabric inside a Calabrian canyon, and the former Giorgio Armani model Antonia Dell’Atte looking ethereal alongside a frozen waterfall in Bormio in the Italian Alps.

Other locations include Carrara, with a model standing on a marble hill, a pink Sardinian beach and a Calabrian forest where red-haired twin girls sit on the mossy bank of a stream holding rings as big and bright as raspberries.

Some 46 pieces of jewelry were also on display at Spencer House, in London’s St. James’s, including tourmaline rings and earrings, bracelets made from fish-like scales of citrine and amethyst, and earrings shaped like flowers with dripping diamond water droplets. The show will move to Milan’s Villa Mozart, where Bodino’s studio is located, and will remain open for two days, from Dec. 1-2. There are also plans to take Beauty Is my Favourite Colour to New York in the spring.

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