ALEXANDER WANG REINTERPRETS BULGARI’S SERPENTI MOTIF

Bvlgari's Mireia Lopez Montoya: Daringness is something we love in Alexander Wang's designs and that is part of Bvlgari's approach to creativity.

By Balthazar Malevolent

ALEXANDER WANG REINTERPRETS BULGARI’S SERPENTI MOTIF

Houses of street style and heritage jewelry may not be the most obvious partners. The Roman jewelry house Bulgari are following the trend. Their latest project comes from a union with wunderkind Alexander Wang, the New York designer.

As part of their 'Serpenti Through the Eyes Of' series, which debuted in 2017, Bulgari handed over the creative reins to Wang for a special capsule collection to reinterpret their Serpenti signature motif. The resulting collection of Alexander Wang x Bulgari centers around a reimagination of the lady-like Serpenti Forever bag in the house, which Wang has multiplied into six different styles.

From a belt bag with two snake closures, detachable straps and handle, to a double and triple flap handbag (each layer emblazoned with the head of the snake) that also features additional indoor pockets for practical purposes, Wang's renowned design riffs elevate the charm of the original design while imbuing it with a youthful versatility.

'I was drawn to the Bulgari Serpenti head, made in the 1960s, in my research into the archives, which has a true timelessness to it,' Wang explains. 'Bulgari was then able to replicate that particular design and we applied it to the capsule as the focal hardware.'

Although it is available in a variety of sizes, materials and colors, such as calfskin in light green, black and white, natural python skin and a glossy lizard, there is no stopping of the effort. Wang also developed the idea of turning luxury packaging items, like dust bags, paper shopping bags and watch boxes, into actual accessories. These pieces make a convincing tongue-in-cheek comment, from streamlined shopping totes and box-like minaudieres with matching wrist cuffs to the defiant two-in-one satchels that fuse a leather handbag with a drawstring dustbag exterior.

'I wanted to approach this collaboration a little differently from the rest, and focus on the notion of packaging as a luxury – taking key elements of the purchase ceremony and highlighting them in a way that only a heritage house like Bulgari can,' Wang says. 'It was about looking at all the external elements that come with the experience of luxury shopping.'

Wang 's collaboration adds a new chapter to the already close relationship Bulgari has had with New York. In 1971, at the Pierre Hotel near Central Park, the Italian jeweler opened their first retail outpost in the town. The blue and red gemstone-swathed collection of 'Stars and Stripes' was designed a year later to commemorate the Bicentennial of the United States. In 2017, in celebration with the Fifth Avenue flagship, the house launched another New York collection, brilliant with coral, lapis lazuli and antique American coins.

Bulgari's managing director of accessories Mireia Lopez Montoya concludes, 'Daringness is something we love in the designs of Alex and that is part of Bulgari's approach to creativity. But what really struck us was that Alexander paid particular attention to the brand's history, passing through our historical archive, despite his own, extremely contemporary viewpoint. He has had a very clear vision of what he wanted to do from the very beginning. What makes this such a strong partnership is his ability to create a virtual bridge between this new collection and the house's historical design codes.'

Alexander Wang’s new take on Bulgari’s Serpenti motif.Alexander Wang’s new take on Bulgari’s Serpenti motif.Alexander Wang’s new take on Bulgari’s Serpenti motif.
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