The Bulgari Serpent Moves Up New York´S 5th Avenue

Ana B. Remos

The Italian brand, founded in 1884, presents a retrospective of its iconic Serpenti collection.


Bulgari celebrates the Chinese Year of the Snake with an in-house retrospective in New York City that highlights the history of its Serpenti line. The Italian jewelry giant has a legitimate reason to promote this Chinese New Year, since its legendary Serpenti design is one of the house’s codes. The snake has been featured in many of their jewels and watches, so admired by celebrities and millionaires.

1. Julianne Moore. / 2. Uma Thurman.

For the exhibit’s opening, the brand presented a splendid mise-en-scene at its New York flagship store. The building façade was adorned with a large reptile, which added a celebratory touch of drama along Fifth Avenue.

French artist and designer Fabien Illou, who has worked with the brand since 2008, created the display. Other cities around the world will host this magnificent exhibition in the near future.

The exhibition was curated by jewelry historian Marion Fasel, and includes important archival pieces like the Serpenti watch from the 1940s, the stunning snake gold bracelet with diamonds and emeralds from the 1960s, and the latest models from the renown Serpenti collection, as well as iconic creations form the 1960s and 70s that have become essential to the brand’s history. Also on view are portraits of Elizabeth Taylor (as Cleopatra), Diana Vreeland, Marisa Berenson and Veruschka, all sporting jewels by Bulgari.

Ms. Fasel is also the author of Bulgari: Serpenti Collection (Assouline), the tome that accompanies the exhibition. At a cost of $150 and with 120 pages, the book shows images and sketches (many of them unpublished) that for decades have carved the history of the Italian brand as one of the most important and influential jewelry firms in the world.


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