Mary Katrantzou and Bulgari rethink Serpenti handbags
Mary Katrantzou brings joyful design ticks to the iconic handbag collection
Mary Katrantzou is the latest designer to rethink Bulgari’s sensual Serpenti Forever collection. The Greek-born, London-based fashion designer, celebrated for her colourful profusion of prints, brings her joyful design aesthetic to the Serpenti Metamorphosis bag, the Serpenti Metamorphosis Handle bag and the Serpenti Metamorphosis minaudière.
‘I wanted to be able to highlight Serpenti as a symbol of transformation, healing and rebirth,’ says Katrantzou. ‘The idea of metamorphosis is so relevant to this moment in time, as we all go through our own process of transformation. I wanted to create a narrative of optimism and spiritual growth and highlight the symbolic nature of Serpenti that dates back to Ancient Greek and Roman mythology. I was fortunate to be able to visit their historical archives in Rome just before the lockdown and seeing the incredible craftsmanship of their 1960s Serpenti pieces became the starting point to the collection.’
The archives proved fruitful for Katrantzou who, inspired by the Serpenti watches dating from the 1960s, reinterpreted the snake’s head as a minaudière in a first for Bulgari. ‘I wanted to explore this motif in a completely different scale and create a direct link between the world of watches and that of accessories,’ Katrantzou adds. ‘We wanted to respect the original, even down to the mechanism of the minaudière which opens by pressing the snake’s tongue. The collection also highlights the Serpenti body and its movement through the creation of a Serpenti bag handle, also a first for Bulgari bags.’
The Serpenti Metamorphosis Handle mimics the fluidity of a Bulgari necklace in its looping coils designed to hug the body. ‘It visually communicates the story of metamorphosis through the creation of a unique artwork that is precision engineered on the bag. It shows the Serpenti transform gradually into a spiral of butterflies and gave me the opportunity to showcase the couture craftsmanship that is synonymous to Bulgari.’
For Bulgari managing director for accessories Mireia Lopez Montoya, the partnership is a natural one; Katrantzou’s penchant for bold design and vibrant colour aligning with that of the Roman jeweller.
‘The collection is the ultimate expression of Bulgari’s "larger than life" motto,’ she says. ‘From the start we found a great affinity with Mary, a very natural feeling that connected us. Mary has an extremely joyful, curious and detail-oriented personality, which was clear from the first moment she set foot in our historical archive to seek inspiration for this collection. The possibility of reinterpreting the Serpenti sign has given each designer involved the possibility of building on the past but with a new, contemporary vision.’ §