Bulgari decks out the divasBy Alex Y. Vergara
Philippine Daily Inquirer
When the heirs of the late Elizabeth Taylor sold a considerable number of her jewelry pieces back to Bulgari sometime last year, everyone knew it wouldn’t take long before the luxury jewelry brand based in Rome produced an updated collection inspired by the iconic actress and her legendary love for Bulgari’s precious baubles.
The result is “Diva,” a chunky yet intricate collection of jewelry pieces fashioned from eye-popping rubellites, emeralds, colored sapphires and, Taylor’s favorite, diamonds.
After the March launch in Portofino, Italy, Bulgari dazzled jewelry connoisseurs anew by launching the same pieces again last week, this time at the posh Hotel Potocki in Paris. In Taylor’s place was erstwhile supermodel Carla Bruni, former first lady of France, who graced both the Portofino and Paris launches.
The pieces Bulgari bought back from the late actress’ jewelry collection include the jaw-dropping diamond-and-emerald number she wore in a scene in the movie “Cleopatra.” The said necklace, with a humongous, detachable emerald pendant, was a wedding gift to Taylor by then husband
Richard Burton. It is adorned with diamonds and numerous smaller emeralds ranging from six to 15 carats each.
“The Diva collection is a modern interpretation of Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari collection,” said Mario Katigbak, country manager of Bulgari in the Philippines. “The most iconic of the buy-back items is definitely that piece with a huge, detachable emerald pendant. Apart from wearing it in a scene in ‘Cleopatra,’ Elizabeth was also photographed wearing the necklace at a costume party in Venice.”
Worldly and independent
Katigbak doesn’t have a complete list of items Bulgari bought back from the late actress’ heirs, but company insiders claim that Bulgari got its hands on the more iconic pieces. He also surmised that Bulgari tapped Bruni to be its current muse because she embodies the rich, worldly and independent woman of today. In other words, Bruni, like Taylor before her, is a diva in her own right.
Despite being away from the catwalk for years, Bruni was the picture of chic in a black strapless top with matching pantsuit. Taking her cue
perhaps from Bulgari’s models, she opted for a simple and classic outfit to better show off the diamond-encrusted necklace with a blue pendant that adorned her neck. The piece also belonged to the Diva series.
Bruni chose to keep to herself and her small group of friends in a quiet corner of the hotel’s sprawling courtyard. Several polite but no-nonsense bodyguards hovered over them to make sure Bruni and her friends were left in peace.
Joining Paris’ fashionable set were actors Bradley Cooper, Milla Jovovich and Virginie Ledoyen, and supermodel Liu Wen. Half of those who attended the cocktail event were journalists from the world over.
“There are numerous pieces in the Diva collection,” said Katigbak. “In fact, there were several items sold that night. What we saw was the high jewelry Diva collection.”
Statuesque models wearing some of the selected pieces from Bulgari’s 200-piece Diva collection emerged from several curtained niches inside the hotel’s huge hall. In keeping with Bulgari tradition, they wore neutral and classic jersey numbers with plunging necklines to better show off those attractive colored baubles. A number of models also paraded wearing matching rings and bracelets that mirrored the diva-esque necklaces and collars that adorned their necks.