A celebration of Italian culture at Bulgari
Image: Victor Santiago
Last night saw Bulgari reopen the doors of its flagship boutique on London’s New Bond Street with a glittering gala that celebrated the luxury jeweller’s longstanding association with Italian culture.
With a guest-list that included the Bulgari ambassadors Carla Bruni and Princess Lilly Zu Sayn Wittgenstein Berleburg, along with Camilla Rutherford, David Furnish, Tiphaine de Lussy and Sam Rollinson, the event provided the perfect opportunity to showcase Peter Marino’s masterful design for the boutique. Blending traditional Roman architectural styles with contemporary English elements, the space is unified by geometric motifs reminiscent of those found in the famous Roman Pantheon; features include bronze latticework and flooring with chequerboard patterns and a striking eight-pointed star in red porphyry at the entrance. The use of marble recurs throughout the store, from the classical columns to the steps of the magnificent staircase.
The newly reopened Bulgari boutique on New Bond Street, designed by Peter Marino. Images courtesy of Bulgari
The highlight of the Italian glamour-inspired opening ceremony was a live performance of Giacomo Puccini’s ‘O mio babbino caro’ by the renowned operatic soprano Carmen Giannattasio, who studied at the Accademia di Perfezionamento at La Scala in Milan, and has sung at London’s Royal Opera House, New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Venice’s La Fenice, among other institutions around the world.
Carmen Giannattasio wears diamond and white gold earrings, £16,100, and diamond and gold watch, £20,600, both Bulgari. Image: Victor Santiago
A longstanding devotee of Bulgari, Giannattasio has worn the brand’s jewels for a number of performances over the years. Speaking exclusively to Town & Country, she described herself as “proud to be an ambassador” for Bulgari and explained that fashion and jewellery are vital aspects of any operatic production. “As a performer, you are selling dreams, so you want to present yourself in the best way possible, and a little sparkle is part of that package,” she said.
Giannattasio, who was born and raised in Naples, called herself “Italian by my roots but a product of the UK”, noting that “British people had the ability to see my talent when I was still ‘raw’. Just like a new gem that needs to be worked on to sparkle, it takes time to achieve your potential as a singer.”
Carmen Giannattasio wears diamond and white-gold earrings, £14,100, Bulgari. Image: Fiorenzo Niccolini
As well as watching Giannattasio’s live performance, guests at the Bulgari event were privy to a pre-recorded broadcast of the opera star singing ‘Casta Diva’, from Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, in Rome with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. One of Italy’s oldest and best-known music institutions, the orchestra – which enjoys the patronage of Nicola Bulgari – is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary under the directorship of Sir Antonio Pappano.
Nicola Bulgari commented: “Like Rome’s distinguished orchestra, Bulgari was founded on Italy’s rich artistic and cultural traditions… Preserving this heritage makes Italy a world leader in style, design and artistry.”
Bulgari, 168 New Bond Street, London W1
What to book: Art16
What to book: Young Bright Things
Frederick Wimsett’s Royal portrait
Sign up for Town & Country's Dog of the Week newsletter to receive our premier pup in your inbox each Friday