There’s something quite destined between Mary Katrantzou and Bvlgari. In 2019, Mary Katrantzou made a homecoming to Greece with her Spring/Summer 2020 show themed Wisdom begins in Wonder. There at the majestic Temple of Poseidon, the London-based Greek designer delivered her debut couture collection complemented by Bvlgari’s high jewellery and archival pieces.
During her collaboration with Bvlgari, Mary Katrantzou discovered about the Greek roots of the Maison's founder, Sotirio Voulgaris, and through a tour to Bvlgari’s archive in Rome after the show, it has sparked Katrantzou’s Bvlgari capsule collection.
"The snake sheds its skin to allow for further growth. This journey of evolution became the centre point of the designs."
Following the likes of Nicholas Kirkwood, Alexander Wang and Yoon Ahn, Mary Katrantzou is the latest designer to join the roster of Serpenti Through the Eyes of collaboration to rethink the iconic Bvlgari Serpenti. The Harlequin Serpenti watch from 1968 has served as her biggest inspiration to bring the capsule collection to life and is echoed throughout the collection through the lens of metamorphosis, rebirth and revolution. The collab sees not only the collision of Mary Katrantzou’s unmistakable kaleidoscopic print and the audacious identity of Bvlgari, but also the emphasis on the designer’s architectural expression, which is evident in the top handle bag and the wearable minaudière.
The unexpected star of this collaboration, however, is a new Eau de Parfum created by Mary Katrantzou and Master Perfumer Alberto Morillas for the Omnia family. Omnia by Mary Katrantzou’s bottle looks like a psychedelic floral dress, and yes, it is a floral scent that plays to the sun-kissed season and unlocks your fondest summertime memories. A floral blend of Gardenia and Mediterranean Orange Blossom is at the heart of this bouquet, layered with Mandarin and Fig Leaf for some sparkles.
We caught up with Mary Katrantzou as she shares the story behind her collaboration with Bvlgari:
How would you define the Bvlgari Serpenti?
Serpenti is Bvlgari! To me, Serpenti is a symbol of transformation and rebirth. Drawn to the idea of metamorphosis, my intention was to highlight its symbolism. The snake sheds its skin to allow for further growth. This journey of evolution became the centre point of the designs. Bringing the iconic Serpenti head to the forefront, I wanted to use its shape to define the silhouette of a minaudière, a Bvlgari first. I wanted to explore this motif in a completely different scale and create a direct link between the world of high jewellery and watches and that of accessories.
Serpenti is also about movement and harmony. My intention was to recreate that movement in the form of a bag handle, so we designed our own Serpenti handle and clasp to add to their collection. The shape of the bag itself is inspired by the curved lines of the Serpenti body and I wanted to accentuate its femininity, working closely with the incredible leather craftsmanship of the Bvlgari artisans.
Working with a heritage maison, how do you infuse your identity into your work?
My work has always revolved around visual storytelling, so I wanted to add to the story and evolution of the Serpenti icon with newfound energy and optimism. Whilst decoding the symbolism behind the Bvlgari heritage, I realised we share a similar aesthetic and vision in many ways. We both share an appreciation of harmony and balance, an affinity to bold colour and design for women who appreciate originality in design and timeless luxury.
You touched on the idea of transformation and rebirth as the inspiration for this collab, what has transformation and rebirth meant to you in the past year(s)?
Lockdown has influenced the theme of this collection: metamorphosis. Metamorphosis can be defined as the process of transformation, evolution and growth. This year has been a year of pausing and reflecting. Over this time, I moved back home to Greece and have gained so much inspiration from my country’s cultural history, art and nature. I’m constantly asking myself “how can we do better?”. I strongly believe this is a form of transformation that we are all experiencing in this moment. My intention was to continue the story of Serpenti’s evolution in the hands of Bvlgari, by introducing an optimistic message of rebirth.
Tell us more about how your Greek roots have inspired your approach to this collaboration.
Ancient Greek culture always influences my design process. Discovering that the founder of Bvlgari, Sotirios Voulgaris has Greek roots, made me realise how similar our aesthetic is. We have a common appreciation of harmony and balance, a focus on timeless elegance and a daring aesthetic. After partnering with Bvlgari for my first couture show at The Temple of Poseidon in Sounio, coming together to create a collection felt like a seamless creative marriage.
I believe that it is fundamental to share the same values and vision when two brands come together. My intention was to highlight the Serpenti symbolism that dates back to ancient Greek and Roman mythology. The design codes of Serpenti felt very familiar and I am grateful for the opportunity to apply my own perspective.
You have also worked with perfumer Alberto Morillas for this collaboration, was the creative process different when you’re translating your vision onto the fragrance?
Through the “Serpenti Through The Eyes Of“ collection and our Omnia collaboration, I was able to apply my creativity to two different worlds of Bvlgari. When there is a strong creative marriage between brands, it allows you the freedom to really explore your imagination and creatively challenge yourself. Our entire collaboration was unorthodox as it occurred in the middle of the pandemic.
I had only met with Master Perfumer Alberto Morillas once in London before the lockdown and during this time we defined the direction of the scent. We talked about my childhood memories, my favourite smells and discussed my initial brief: to distill the rainbow into a scent. Doing everything entirely remotely, I think you take most decisions on instinct and fragrance by nature is very personal. It really heightened all our other senses that guided all the decisions around this collaboration.
What occasion will you be wearing this scent for?
Every occasion! This fragrance is a celebration of life’s purest pleasures: an explosive flower bouquet, the smell of an unforgettable bloom and the joy of colours. I hope our addition to the Omnia family brings joy to women and settles like a memory into their soul. For me, it always takes me back to my memories of growing up in Greece.
Is there a guide or any tips to choosing fragrances online?
Finding the perfect fragrance is not easy and it is a very personal choice. For me a perfume is linked with memory and the feelings it evokes, so think of your favourite scent and the mood you want to reflect. Omnia by Mary Katrantzou was designed with that in mind. Our fragrance was created and is being launched during a time of uncertainty and I really wanted to send a message of optimism. It is a celebration of life’s purest pleasures: an explosive flower bouquet, the smell of an unforgettable bloom and the joy of colours.
Define your collaboration with Bvlgari in one sentence.
A seamless creative marriage where limitless imagination meets impeccable craftsmanship, to define timeless luxury