Bulgari: The Story, The Dream

Image of Bulgari: The Story, The Dream
Release Date: 
September 24, 2019
Reviewed by: 

We have all heard the expression that “there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” and in this particular instance that pot is the incredibly spectacular creations from the legendary heritage brand of Bulgari. Its design and craftsmanship take center stage once you reach that portion of this monograph.

What is unfortunate here is that in order to reach that “pot of gold” the reader must wade through well over 100 pages of dry and in most cases pedantic text provided by over ten  different  contributors, each an expert within their chosen fields. The issue was the flood of detail contained within each of their “chapters.” It is true that the book serves as a catalog for a show (June 26 thru November 3 2019); the exhibition Bulgari: The Story, The Dream that will run in two prestigious museums in Rome: Palazzo Venezia and Castel Sant’Angelo.  

No matter the raison d’être for the book so much of what is recounted seems at times wildly tangential and inconsequential to the main  topic as well as falling under the category of “TMI” or too much information. Unquestionably every fashion book, no matter what area of fashion is covered, wants to offer context, yet here we have so much  more than just mere context; we are served up the geographical, sociological, anthropological, historical details, as well as family history and more, before we even get to the product itself and its genesis. To edit  such a book  must have been a monumental task especially when so many of the contributors are authorities and possibly scholars in areas that bear little relationship to fashion; this creates essays and treatises like chapters that leave the reader feeling somewhat uneducated or confused as to why each of these segments are included. To put it simply, Bulgari: The Story, The Dream is written and edited in the most circuitous and curious ways possible to make its point.

If this reader had a wish list as to how this book might have been presented, it would have been to just  floor  the reader with some of the most unimaginably eye poppingly exquisite jewels ever to grace a book of this genre. All the seemingly extraneous text means nothing until you actually see what the brand Bulgari stands for in terms of its signatures and unmatched stonework and craftsmanship.

There is a short segment within the monograph that essays to show the jewels in relation to haute couture, which quite frankly is so unimportant, disjointed, and unnecessary. This is just one of those books that should have been curated and edited as tightly as was done with the pieces selected from the enormous Bulgari archive when making its selections for this show and book.