Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele unveils his sophomore collection of high jewelry for the Florentine fashion House.

The Location

In Italy, at the foot of the Alps, Lago Maggiore stretches about like a glistening blue blanket, surrounded by Alpine flora and fauna, punctuated by idyllic towns that swell each summer with Italian holidaymakers. Stresa, one such town, is home to the historic Parco Pallavicino, a stately home built on land first purchased in 1855, and transformed in 1862 by the noble Genoese Pallavicino family, into
an estate with a splendid nineteenth-century neoclassical-style villa.

Nearly 100 years later, in 1952, the Marquise Luisa brought animals from all over the world to the estate, creating a wildlife sanctuary open to the public, filled with such exotic species as zebra, kangaroos, and alpaca. Today, herds of white-speckled fallow deer graze peacefully on the lawns, roaming free with Tibetan goats, llamas, and flamingos. And here, among the vibrant flower gardens and verdant parterres, House Gucci unveiled its latest collection of high jewelry.

The Jewels

Hortus Deliciarum (Garden of Delights), echoing the eclectic quixotism of Alessandro’s kaleidoscopic universe – and codes of the House imbue each piece. Conceived in four chapters – a quartet, if you will – each is a resplendent representation of the wonders found in the natural world, touched by the fantasy of magic imagination. Iconic landscapes and their breathtaking features comprise the first of the four – cascades of glittering diamonds are presented in fringe, echoing both the roaring waterfall, and the Roaring Twenties.

The second proposition is inspired by sunsets, while the third and most romantic of the quartet is defined by the House’s more Rococo codes – roses and bows. These are set in precious necklaces, and some are detachable and may be worn like talismanic charms. Finally, in the fourth – with the most universally recognized Gucci motifs of tigers and lions – the animal kingdom is brought to life in lambent yellow gold, a new medium in Gucci’s High Jewelry world.

The Gala

As if the villa of Parco Pallavicino was not stunning enough, the gala dinner to fete Alessandro’s new jewels for Gucci upstaged even its grandeur. Guests were ferried to Isola Madre, which takes its name from the aristocratic Borromeo family, who also lend their name to the palazzo that soars above the sumptuous gardens. As guests were seated, a dizzying cavalcade of delectable courses, and goblets of the finest Italian wine ballet’d about the tables. Of course, the tiramisu was the best anyone could remember ever tasting, and then, to top it all off in more Gucci style than a cheese plate, singer-songwriter Celeste took the stage in a pink silk hammered satin Gucci dress, dipped and dripped in diamonds.