American actress Zendaya looked every inch a movie star as she walked the red carpet at the Dune premiere at last year’s Venice International Film Festival.
Impeccably dressed in a high-slit nude Balmain dress and matching Louboutin pumps, the Euphoria star immediately won the approval of fashion bibles around the world and social media users alike.
At the base of her neck, nestled perfectly between her collarbones and befitting her status as one of the world’s most exciting talents, was a stunning 93.83 carat emerald.
The kind of gem one usually associates with royalty, and Zendaya is of course on track to become, at least in the Hollywood sense, thanks to her burgeoning resume and relationship with box office prince Tom “Spider.” -man” Holland.
It turns out that Denis Villeneuve’s Dune wasn’t the only stunning work of art to debut that day – high jewelery maison Bulgari chose the Venice red carpet and, more importantly, Zendaya’s impossibly elegant neck for the public premiere of their necklace Serpenti Hypnotic Emerald.
Now, for the first time, Bulgari has allowed cameras into its top-secret workshop to show exactly how such a piece is made.
The resulting film Inside the Dream chronicles the journey of the precious gemstone at the heart of the necklace, from a 21,000-carat emerald the size of a baby to the stunning cabochon-cut stone we saw in Venice.
In an exclusive interview with STM, Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin says the design of the twisted necklace, set with diamonds and smaller emeralds, was entirely influenced by the giant gemstone’s “unique nature”.
“When our jewelery creative director, Lucia Silvestri, and the team of gem hunters manage to find something very special, there must always be an idea or a vision of what kind of jewelery it should become,” says Babin.
The film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this month and is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, showcases Silvestri’s amazing talent in an industry historically male-dominated.
It also shows how the union of jewelry and wearer can create something even greater than the sum of the parts, which is no small feat when the parts include such luminaries as Zendaya, US-based Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, supermodel Lily Aldridge and include BLACKPINK member Lalisa “Lisa” Manobal.
“Since the Dolce Vita and the years when Liz Taylor wore our jewelry, Hollywood has given Bulgari a lot of exposure despite being a small family business,” Babin admits.
With more than 150 million Instagram followers and incredible prestige among young people, Zendaya is an inspired choice as an ambassador for Bulgari, but the company’s CEO says every celebrity partnership gets a lot of attention.
“Our challenge is to find ambassadors who will embrace our values, our deep-rooted Italian culture and our savoir-faire, and bring them to every part of the world in an individual but coherent way,” explains Babin.
It is therefore a significant mark of respect that the legendary purveyor of exclusive jewelery has decided this year to add Perth actress Olivia DeJonge, star of Baz Luhrmann’s hit Elvis biopic, to its stable of ambassadors.
“[DeJonge]is an incredibly talented young woman, real and authentic,” Babin tells STM.
“She’s a rising star who has already garnered attention with her amazing role as Priscilla Presley… and we’re just confident that she’s going to go far and we wanted to be with her on that meteoric rise.”
Babin is as confident in his company’s economic prospects as it emerges from a global pandemic.
“Our customers’ appetite for beauty, craftsmanship and masterpieces of High Jewelry is still there, so we were more optimistic than ever,” he confirms.
“The pandemic was just a powerful accelerator that showed us how much more we can do.”
Inside the Dream offers viewers a rare glimpse into what Bulgari has always done – which is to create unique and stunning jewelry – but we got a glimpse of the future last month when the company took a foray into the bold new world of made the metaverse.
Featuring an interactive avatar of BLACKPINK’s Lisa, Bulgari opened a virtual store and café on Zepeto, Asia’s largest Metaverse platform, to showcase its Resort 2022 collection to the platform’s 300 million users.
“As a luxury house that has made pushing boundaries part of its DNA, it’s part of our mentality to constantly expand the vision of our creative universe,” says Babin.
“With that in mind, even as we approach this whole new world of the metaverse, our goal is not to follow a trend, but to create something new – a new way of experiencing luxury, always inspired by our . . . Values of Italian excellence.”