Yoon Ahn rethinks the Bulgari Serpenti
The Ambush creative director brings a contemporary edge to the classic Serpenti Forever bag
Creative director of Ambush, Yoon Ahn, is the latest designer to reinterpret Bulgari’s iconic Serpenti handbag and accessories collection.
The Tokyo-based designer brings neon brights and a contemporary edge to the Ambush x Bulgari collection. The Serpenti Forever bag is reborn as a shoulder bag, belt bag and as the heart-shaped Serpenti Minaudiere, which all keep the Serpenti motif firmly at the heart of their design. ‘History is essential because it’s the root and story of the house,’ says Ahn. ‘When you work with a heritage house, it’s important to remember that while the ‘design’ embodies the spirit, it must reflect the time and the context. Bulgari was very open to seeing how I could re-interpret the Serpenti heritage line, and I took it to a place where they have never been before.’
The sensual lines of the snake are still there, its coils now the outline of the Serpenti shoulder bag or in the heart shape of the Minaudiere, which nods to the natural position snakes assume in the wild. ‘It was essential to express the beauty of snakes and capture it in a more approachable and lively way. Bags have been padded to mimic the fluidity of their bodies,’ Ahn explains. ‘The Serpenti head wrapped in the same leather blends with the body, so it looks like one full animal. I haven’t seen this in Bulgari’s designs previously.’ Ahn, also Dior Men’s director of jewellery, adds an opulent edge to the functional. The snake’s head acts as the closure of the bag and comes complete with reptilian eyes in mother-of-pearl or black onyx; thickly interwoven metallic chains pay homage to both Bulgari and Ahn’s jewellers’ DNA while adding a toughness to buttersoft Nappa leather.
Ahn’s modern take may rethink a classic symbol, but ultimately, the juxtaposition of cultures and aesthetics is an organic one. ‘My approach to design is instinctive, and always from the dual perspective of a creator and a user. I kept it honest,’ she says. §