“If beauty cannot be experienced to the fullest, it does not mean that one cannot continue imagining it.” With this premise and the use of unusual materials and details of handmade jewelry, Bvlgari presents the new collection of autumn / winter bags 2021. Named ‘Oasis’, in reference to the places we would like to be able to go to in a world without a pandemic, Mireia Montoya, General Director of the Bags and Accessories Division at Bvlgari, tells more about the brand’s news, accessories trends and plans for the brand, direct from Milan, in an exclusive interview with Casual.
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After a difficult year, you managed to innovate by choosing a different material, such as raffia. What inspired you to create in 2020?
Yes, it is being a private moment, we are still in lockdown. We designed the collection for the way we would like to be living. We think about the desire to be outside, to be free, to have our ideal life back. And then we thought of a collection oasis, because we were thinking of a mental oasis. So it was what inspired the colors of the collection, like water, more neutral colors and raffia, thinking about sand, being on the sea side, enjoying freedom again. It was really that desire to be free and we are doing a lot for us. When designers created this moodboard for the collection, and Brazil has often appeared as a reference of “oasis”.
And why choose a simpler material to express yourself?
Bvlgari always chooses unexpected materials and combinations. We already use ceramics, marble and even wood in our jewelry. So it is something that really is part of our uniqueness, exploring different types of materials. We love to use a very natural and simple material like raffia. And we interpret it as jewelry, with our icon, the snake, and the chains. So, we tried to give it a touch that brought our core elements, but we really brought something that we never did. It was the first time that we used raffia, and like I said, we want to take people to an oasis on the beach. And somewhere took us to this type of natural material as a way to explore something unexpected from us.
This is the winter collection. But still, you used from much more neutral colors, like raffia and ivory white, but also vibrant colors, like pink and holographic. How was the selection of these colors made?
Although it was launched in winter, it is a collection that covers the summer months. But I think now, the items are more aligned between what is going to be shown and what people want to wear, for example, in summer people are interested in using brighter and more vivid colors. But, on the other hand, there are colors that are increasingly transitory. So, in summer or winter, you will still use the same ivory, the same color that we launched last year. The colors really are no longer seasonal because you can use yellow for winter, for example, just know how. But I think it’s the strength of the transition colors, which is very, very strong.
And it is very interesting to dress with colors in the winter.
Yes. Colors also provide some kind of positive energy. Having a yellow bag with a completely gray or dark look is fun.
Mireia, can you choose your favorite piece or just say the key pieces in the collection?
I really like the ivory Serpenti Cabochon, and I also like the little pink bag. I found it very cute. The cabochon allows you to wear something in a more casual way, it has leather handles, which makes it very wearable and very practical, in addition to giving a special touch to the look.
Speaking of Serpenti and jewels, how to bring the jewelery inspiration and transmit it to the bags?
This is something that we decided a few years ago that we asked ourselves, “What is our position and what do we really bring to the market in terms of exclusivity?” Because we are a jewelry store, we are not the fashion brand. So, these are basically three things that bags need to carry: the first thing is that Bvlgari is the master of colors. Therefore, we always bring color to our collections. Then, it’s about the secrets of the brand. Therefore, all of our bags always carry the jewelry element. Be it the snake head or the chain. And the third element is craftsmanship, about the techniques used, for example, the python that is painted by hand. We work on the materials for a unique treatment that brings the image of the jeweler. The three pillars of our thinking when creating the bags are the color, details and symbols of the brand through crafts.
You mentioned crafts. Do you believe that consumers today are looking for handmade items?
I think the consumer was already looking for items like that. But, we noticed the trend of buying less items, but of high value pieces. Consumers look for items that last and have real value. And that is why handicrafts come on the scene, to buy something that is not a seasonal item, but something that you would like to use for a long time. So, quality and craftsmanship is something that has added value and is more appreciated today.
What else did you notice about trends in consumer desires in the past year?
People, when it comes to colors, want to buy things that they can use regardless of the situation. And there is more value in something that is really iconic. We are investing in iconic pieces that are timeless. And so I think they’re buying less, but they’re buying better and they’re really investing more in these timeless pieces, rather than just more ephemeral.
Serpenti is an iconic symbol of Bvlgari. Do you intend to have a collection with another symbol in the future?
Yes. We hope that next year we will have something. But this year we are also presenting the new bags with the logo. With a handicraft in the logo, with the name Bvlgari made with chains, it is a detail made by hand and very, very detailed.