All in the Family
The Bulgari name carries much weight in the fashion industry, and the heirs to that name either embrace it, or…don’t. Back in 1978, Marina Bulgari, granddaughter of Sotirio Bulgari, walked away from the iconic brand and founded her own company, Marina B, at the age of 48. It was a bold move, and her designs proved even bolder: Oxidized gold replaced black enamel; spring-loaded clasps became decorative elements; and architectural duster earrings were introduced. She even invented a unique stone cut, aptly named the Marina B. Eschewing industrialization, she opted to commission Italian artisans to craft her pieces.
Now Marina is bequeathing her brand to her nephew, Giorgio Bulgari. I caught up with the creative director this winter during his introductory visit to Dorfman Jewelers, the exclusive Boston stockist of the Marina B line. In the Newbury Street store, we chatted in Italian as he handed me piece after beautiful piece from the collection. Joining us was Boston’s Italian consulate general, Nicola De Santis, who listened as Giorgio told us about the history of Marina’s benchmark line: “It was highly prolific,” he said. “Nobody had done designs like hers before.”
Giorgio explained that his first project for Marina B is a scaled-down version of his aunt’s Atomo collection—“an evergreen for the company,” he said. The Mini Atomo line is slightly more accessible, price-wise, than the original, which Giorgio hopes will usher in a new generation of Marina B customers. He also has 1,200 sketches that have yet to go into production.
Even as he continues taking his aunt’s company in a fresh direction, Giorgio still makes sure Marina B’s namesake gets the chance to weigh in on his ideas and drawings. “She’s very opinionated…but she gives good advice,” he said with a smile.
Dorfman Jewelers, 24 Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-2022, dorfmanjewelers.com.