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Mary Katrantzou Is Bulgari’s First-Ever Creative Director of Leather Goods and Accessories

Mary Katrantzou has been named the creative director of leather goods and accessories at Bulgari. It’s a newly created position.

Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou is Bulgari’s new creative director of leather goods and accessories. Photo: Matteo Carassale

Greek-born and based in London at the time, Katrantzou made a name for herself straight out of Central Saint Martins in the late aughts, specializing in the then-new medium of digital placement printing. From the start she had a fascination with jewelry. Her CSM MA collection, which was snapped up by the department store Browns, featured hyperreal trompe l’oeil images of necklaces. Dresses from later collections would be compared to Fabergé eggs.

Her new Bulgari remit extends from leather day bags to silks to one-of-a-kind or very special high-jewelry bags. “When does something change from being considered adornment to being functional and what can we do in that in-between space?” Katrantzou asks. “That’s where the mind-blowing Bulgari archive comes in. Studying the originals and seeing how they can be transformed and seeing this category as a creative lab to do it—that to me is incredible.”

Katrantzou’s connection with Bulgari dates to 2019, when the Italian jewelry company loaned her its precious necklaces, bracelets, and earrings for a fashion show she staged at the monumental Temple of Poseidon in Athens. Cate Blanchett wore a sensational jeweled bodice gown from the collection that matched her blond hair to the 2020 Golden Globes. The relationship between Katrantzou and the Roman brand deepened in 2021 when she designed a capsule collection of leather handbags and jeweled minaudières inspired by the house’s famous Serpenti motif.

Mary Katrantzou dress

Photo: Getty

But her affinity for Bulgari goes much further back. Like Katrantzou, the company’s founder Sotirio Bulgari was Greek. She remembers a coffee table book on the history of the house (her mother was an interior designer with a rich library) and she received a Bulgari watch from her father as a high school graduation present. “Mary’s arrival makes us very proud,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, the company’s CEO, in a statement. “She shares with Bulgari not only the Greek origins, but above all the search for excellence in the choice of materials, the way in which they are transformed with a particular emphasis on craftsmanship and a passionate love for colors.”

At the start of the pandemic, Katrantzou relocated from London to Athens, where she had a baby boy, who is now two-and-a-half. Her new job will have her shuttling between her homebase and Bulgari’s design ateliers in Florence and offices in Rome, and she’ll continue to manage her own business, which is headquartered in London. (The Hellenic Olympic Committee also recently revealed the costumes she designed for the Olympic Torch lighting and handover ceremony to take place in Paris in July.) “It’s a new chapter, and being around a completely different culture than my own company has been so inspiring. The speed with which an idea can be realized and a prototype can be made is extremely rewarding for any creative.” She continues: “Andy Warhol said, ‘when I’m in Rome, I always go to Bulgari because it’s like visiting the best contemporary art exhibition.’ There’s just so much potential here.”

Mary Katrantzou’s first pieces for Bulgari will arrive in stores in August of this year.

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