Renowned as a jeweller and watchmaker, and popular for its perfume, Bulgari has been gaining significant ground too as in the leather goods segment. The house has had leather goods for almost 20 years, but where we might easily pass over its vintage designs as rather generic, a striking, signature style has emerged in recent collections.
The key to its growing commercial success must be Bulgari’s decision to translate its forte in jewellery to its accessories – an aim fully actualised with its nature-inspired Spring/Summer collection, Mediterranean Eden.
Its jewellery-making expertise was most obvious in previous seasons most obviously in the Serpenti Forever’s enamelled snakehead clasps with semiprecious stone eyes and glissading gold-tone chains that mimicked the sinuous snake. Now, these touches have been imparted in stronger and more creative iterations to the handbags, which also come in more jewel-toned precious skins (the leather colours are given precious stone monikers such as “orchid amethyst” and “royal sapphire”).
We see even more artisanal leather-crafting flourishes this season. The Bulgari Bulgari Floralia Perspicio adapts a mosaic technique used since ancient Rome and handed down through generations; calf leather is laser cut and inlaid into gold metal parts. A Serpenti Forever bag in smooth calf leather boasts a Fiore motif crafted from inlays of coloured calf leather and gold galuchat, giving the structured bag a youthful vibe.
The Serpenti Viper tote, Bulgari’s answer to the Birkin, returns in a beautiful “pixel python”. Its organic pattern on first glance unveils its especial design upon closer inspection: each python scale has been individually hand-dyed by an artisan, which means that no two bags are ever alike. The meticulous process limits such production of painted python to just 15 per artisan per week.
The Viper’s top handle can be switched out for a shoulder strap, green malachite dot the clasp’s push buttons, and the bag comes in a new extra-small size this season – the really cute Serpenti Viper Mini.
Among the new collection of sunglasses, two round-eyed Serpenti pairs stood out: a gilded one with a strong hexagonal browline lasered with geometric scales; and another with mini cat eyes in a tri-hued mosaic of enamelled scales.