American model Lily Aldridge is an image of grace, but in terms of personality, she's your girl next door. She stumbled on a couple of words during a speech at the Bulgari press event, then very cleverly made a joke about a wardrobe malfunction when her Serpenti necklace came off midway through the event, and also revealed an attraction to glittery phone covers — just some of the many things that make her so endearing.
It was this exact mix of elegance, charm, and a larger-than-life persona, that Bulgari was looking for. "She incarnates to perfection the new Bulgari woman — indulgent, unapologetic, always alive but also unexpected," said Stephane Gerschel, Bulgari's International Communications Director.
Following in the footsteps of former spokespersons for the brand — which include former French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, and actresses Rachel Weisz and Julianne Moore — Aldridge appears in campaign images shot by renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino, evoking a sense of Roman opulence.
Here, Aldridge chats with Buro 24/7 Singapore about her obsession with jewellery, working with Mario Testino, and what luxury means to her.
How do you feel as the youngest Bulgari brand ambassador?
It's such a huge honour. I'm such a big fan of Bulgari; the women that they choose to be brand ambassadors are women that I love — elegant women, classy women, and women that give back — and to follow in their footsteps is a really big honour. I'm so thrilled that people see me in that light because that is how I want to be portrayed.
What was the best part about shooting the campaign?
Being in Rome. It's such a magical city that is full of culture. Obviously getting to wear incredible pieces of jewellery is so exciting; you feel so elegant, and you kinda squeal every time they put a new piece on you and cry a little when they take them away. We shot this campaign over a few days and I got to know the security team well that I would joke with them about pretending to run out of the building with the jewellery.
What was it like working with Mario Testino?
Mario Testino is the most fabulous man; he is so much fun and there is no one that will just make you feel more at ease, confident and sexy as he does. He just brings such an amazing energy to the set and makes you get into whatever character you are portraying that day so effortlessly.
At what point in your life did you start taking an interest in jewellery?
As a young girl, I was given a jewellery kit made of plastic, and I felt so cute with my ten neon coloured rings. It's just always been a part of my life. I love jewellery, I love fashion, and I love beauty. It's just one of those things that I love experimenting with.
How do you think Bulgari resonates with your personality?
They are not afraid to make bold choices with colour. That's how I am too, I like to make bold choices when it comes to fashion; I'm not afraid of what people think. We're also both Italian.
Is there a piece that you never take off?
If you look at my street style photos, I'm always wearing this piece (the Bulgari B.Zero1 Perfect Mistake ring). I think it's such a cool statement ring that goes with everything. It's classic and a little rock and roll too.
What makes the Serpenti so alluring to you?
Bulgari as a brand is just so bold, and they make great choices with the colours that they use. Obviously Serpenti is a snake, and there is something very sexy about a snake — it's strong and when you wear it you feel that kind of passion. It's just very interesting, and it's something that I've never seen any other jewellery designer do.
When it comes to dressing up, do you decide on your clothes or accessories first?
It depends, sometimes you have that great pair of shoes that you style your outfit around, or sometimes you have a new ring or sunglasses. Honestly, when I have something new, I'm excited and will work the whole look around it to make it work.
How would you define luxury?
Luxury to me is a way of life. It's in the simplest things like taking time for yourself, taking a bath, or looking up in the sky and smiling. It doesn't have to be material things; it's just being able to enjoy life and appreciate the things you have.
What do you think really makes a woman sparkle?
To me, it's all about your inner beauty. If you're a vibrant, nice person people are drawn to you. It's like when there's a person who is smiling in a crowd of people that aren't, you are immediately drawn to that person. A happy and open person is the most beautiful.
The Bulgari Larger than Life campaign starring Lily Aldridge will be released on 14 October.