Paris—After hosting a retrospective in Rome last year, Italian jewelry
brand Bulgari is continuing to celebrate its 125th anniversary with an
exhibition here at the prestigious Grand Palais.
The first large-scale retrospective by a jewelry house to take place at the famed landmark (above)—a historic site, exhibition hall and museum—the exhibition encompasses the main chapters in Bulgari's history as well as the evolution of the brand's aesthetic.
On Dec. 10, Nicola Bulgari, chairman of the Bulgari Group, and Francesco Trapani, chief executive officer of Bulgari, hosted a private cocktail celebration at the 110-year-old Grand Palais to celebrate the opening of the exhibition, "BVLGARI: 125 Ans de Magnificence Italienne." Among the star-studded guests in attendance were actresses Juliette Binoche and Julianne Moore, actor Clive Owen, rocker Lenny Kravitz and French Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld, among others.
Guests at the event got a first-hand chance to roam through eight galleries featuring more than 600 Bulgari jewels, watches and objets d'art, as well as photographs and films featuring the artists, aristocrats and celebrities who have worn Bulgari over the years.
Notable items on display include jewels worn and owned by screen legends of the 1950s and 1960s, including Anna Magnani, Ingrid Bergman, Monica Vitti and Sophia Loren, to name a few. Jewels from Elizabeth Taylor's personal collection are showcased in another gallery, with highlights including Taylor's Richard Burton-gifted "Grand Duchess Vladimir's Suite" featuring a diamond and emerald brooch/necklace with matching emerald drop earrings, a ring and bracelet studded with over 150 carats of Colombian emeralds.
Many of the pieces featured in the Paris exhibition are new to public view and were not included in the 2009 retrospective in Rome. About half of the exhibition items belong to Bulgari's Historical Archives, while others, including many pieces new to display, were lent by private collectors around the world.
According to Trapani, the Paris exhibition offers a unique chance for Bulgari to celebrate its history while also increasing its brand exposure.
"The opportunity to exhibit the immense patrimony of precious jewels and objects that embrace more than a century of history of our brand at the Grand Palais in Paris will enable us to increase Bulgari's awareness in a strategic market for luxury goods. It will also be a testimony of the special link that Bulgari and Paris have shared since the early 1920s, when Paris, the capital of decorative arts with its international atmosphere, was one of the sources of creative inspiration and innovation for my grandfather Sotirio and his son Giorgio Bulgari," Trapani said.
The Paris retrospective will remain open to the public until Jan. 12.