As a former supermodel and first lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's lavish, jet-setting lifestyle makes her a perfect fit as the face of luxury jewelry brand Bulgari.
No stranger to glitz and glamour, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has had a love affair with jewelry since she was a little girl growing up in Italy. While the model-turned-songwriter has been out of the fashion scene for some time, in 2013 she returned to her roots as the international brand ambassador for high-end jeweler Bulgari. As the company releases their latest collection, Italian Gardens, an homage to the beauty of Italy's lush landscape, Bruni-Sarkozy revels in the majesty of jewelry and the inspiration behind Bulgari's timeless pieces.
You've lived a good part of your life in France, but you're Italian. How would you sum up the difference in aesthetic and visual style between the French and the Italians?
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy: Well, they're very similar people. I would say we're cousins. Jean Cocteau used to say French people are Italian people in a bad mood, and that's quite true! Or vice versa. I would say we have a lot in common. The North of Italy and the South of France, the Alps, the Christian culture, the story of Rome, the poetry, the literature, the music, the creativity. We're probably the most similar countries in Europe.
What has been your most memorable moment as brand ambassador for Bulgari?
CB: You know what my best moment would be? One day we had a lovely evening in Paris at the Apicius restaurant and two very shy people came to me — they were the people that create and make the jewelry. They said, "We just wanted to let you know how happy we are that you are wearing the jewelry. It took us six months to make this tiny little piece from the design, and the jewels are like our children." They were moved just by seeing the piece on my neck. That was a very nice moment because I could see how happy and proud they were of their own work.
What does jewelry represent to you?
CB: Feelings, memory, and sometimes melancholy. For instance, when my mom looked at the jewelry my father gave her, it reminded her of her whole life and my father, who is not alive anymore. It's a mix of wonderful memories and of a little nostalgia. One of the most tender memories of my childhood would be my mother with some beautiful earrings and beautiful ring bending down to kiss me goodnight. It's not only a luxurious item that one can buy; it's more much more than that. I believe it's always related to special moments in life.
The new Bulgari collection takes its inspriation from gradens. How do you feel connected to the gardens?
CB: In Italy, gardens are particularly incredible. Not only in Florence, but [also] where I was born in Torino, in Northern Italy. To me, the garden is my childhood [and] I have so many memories of playing in the gardens. I think [they] are incredible. Architects and gardeners would work together to make [an] incredible prospective. I believe that gardens are one of the most beautiful things that mankind has done. When man mixes up his creativity with nature, I think it's just hte most romantic thing.