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2009 May 20

When in Rome...

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(ROME) Bulgari's 125th anniversary is clearly the talk of Rome, with the Via dei Condotti flanked with banners of the exposition and the mayor himself expected at tonight's festivities. But the baubles and their subsequent unveiling have enchanted many starlets stateside as well--including Chloe Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin and Jessica Alba. The three actresses joined Nicola Bulgari and family for cocktails and live jazz music in a very refined garage filled with Mr. Bulgari's stunning collection of antique cars, which were polished to perfection and aligned for maximum admiration purposes.
 
"We have worked very hard, not just for 125 years but especially so during the last one," Bulgari explained of the frenzy to curate and catalogue over 500 works which will be shown at Il Palazzo delle Esposizioni in the brand's first retrospective entitled Bulgari: Between Eternity and History. As he invited guests to partake in some bellini action, others watched a reel featuring clips of Bulgari's cars as they appeared in films.

"I drive a Prius," deadpanned Cameron Silver. "I'm just here for the jewelry." But others were sufficiently enthralled with Bulgari's heaviest metals. "There's a Buick here that I would be happy to drive," noted Pat Fields, a notorious car buff. "I mostly use my 2002 T-Bird now--it's a pearly aqua color. Only two seats, for me and the dogs. I have to keep my '78 Pacer in a garage in Greenpoint, near where I work. Nicola told me that he's going to help me figure out what to do with it."
 
"If I could drive anything, it would still be an old Alfa Romeo," said Amadeo Scognamiglio. "Actually, Roberto [Faraone Mennella] has one." "I like that Mercedes in the entrance," countered Mennella, pointing to a steely grey model that had the aesthetes swooning. "That's chic as hell." Fern Mallis was inclined to agree. "I grew up with an Oldsmobile, but now I drive a Mercedes-Benz," she she said. "They support fashion, so we should support them!"

Alba and Veronica Bulgari headed into an adjoining room, where miniature models of every automobile in Bulgari's collection were encased in glass cabinets. Upstairs, Bulgari showed Alba a small bedroom where family friends are often invited to stay. "It feels so luxurious to spend a weekend in Rome, "said Alba graciously. "Especially when there is so much jewelry involved!" The actress (and new mother) showed off an antique rose gold bracelet that her husband gave her as a gift. "I've never seen anything like it before."

Big Love stars Goodwin and Sevigny caught up before settling in to a sinfully carbohydrate-fueled meal of risotto, lasagne and too many other Italian delicacies to count. "I've been here since Friday," Sevigny revealed. "And so far, it's been amazing. I'm very interested in these cars. I'm actually looking for an eighties Porsche Carrera in white. My stand-in on Big Love has one. But I could also make do with a Jaguar XJS." Bettina Zilkha appreciates the notion of auto as accessory. "I'd really like to own a red Ferrarri, because it's fast, exciting, and sleek. More importantly, it makes every outfit look fantastic."

But even as a chocolate birthday cake appeared to toast Silver, who is now officially 40, Goodwin remained focused on the jewelry, telling fellow guests like Debbie Bancroft and Alina Cho how religiously she wears her Save the Children ring. "It's almost like a scar," she said, pointing out the tan line it left on her finger. "I guess these Bulgari pieces are too good to take off."
ASHLEY BAKER




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