Why Bulgari adores Rome, Dior dotes on Versailles, and Boucheron loves India
Brands are commemorating their links to cities and cultures that inspired their branding, broadened their artistic vision, or generated a lot of business
Many maisons are expressing their love of cities and cultures in commemorative collections. Bulgari in New York presented archived, vintage and privately collected items in “Bulgari + Rome: Eternal Inspirations”. The exhibition highlighted classic designs that date back to the 1930s, including a gold and diamond necklace inspired by the vaulted ceilings of the Pantheon, and a bib necklace inspired by the Via Appia, one of the oldest and most important roads in ancient Rome.
Rings from the B.zero1 collection are inspired by the grand Roman Colosseum; the Parentesi necklace is derived from the capital’s travertine road stones; the entire Divas’ Dream collection and its fan-shaped motif comes from the tiles that line the walls at Caracalla’s thermal bath houses.
French jewellery brands Dior and Boucheron revealed collections with pieces inspired by their nation’s architecture and design. The splendour of Versailles inspired Dior high-jewellery designer Victoire de Castellane to create earrings, rings and necklaces that celebrated the palace and the French art of living.
Last year, Boucheron paid tribute to India, where Louis Boucheron, the son of the maison’s founder, Frederic Boucheron, bought the Kashmir cabochon sapphire in 1909, a gemstone that would later become a Boucheron hallmark. India’s maharaja of Patiala also arrived in Paris in 1928 with a haul of over 7,000 diamonds and 1,500 emeralds, and ordered Boucheron to set the stones into 149 dazzling jewellery pieces. The Bleu de Jodphur collection, divided into several chapters, was a nod to India’s rich heritage. Inspired by Jodphur, Boucheron’s director of creations Claire Choisne used sapphires and diamonds to evoke the city’s blue and white architecture. The Jodphur Necklace even features the unusual use of marble, taken from the quarry that supplied the building of the Taj Mahal.
This year, Boucheron reverts to its French roots with its 26 Vendôme collection, which celebrates Frederic Boucheron’s vision, and the 157-year-old maison’s main address since 1893. Three overarching themes make up the collection. One theme, Architecture Inspirée, takes its starting point from a hôtel particulier - private residence - near the Palais Royal, where the maison’s founders established their business.
The Hotel Particulier Necklace under that theme is a masterpiece that evokes the winter views of the gardens through the arched windows. A 21.80ct yellow sapphire shines like sunlight from the centre, while three rock crystal pendants are used to recreate the view of the gardens. A myriad of diamonds forms deer, trees, birds and clouds.