The snake has long served as the iconic emblem of Bulgari, with its repeated appearance epitomizing the graceful mystique and timelessness of the accessory brand throughout the years. For their latest Serpenti collection, Bulgari called in Tokyo-based streetwear maven Yoon Ahn to reimagine the slithering reptile in an edgier light. Ahn, Dior Homme jewelry director and cofounder of Ambush, took inspiration from the Tree Python of Southeast Asia in designing this line that includes bags, coin purses, wallets, and a new bracelet. Bella Hadid, Ellen Rosa, and Xiao Wen appear in the digital campaign, and the new collaboration will be in stores starting September 4th. L'Officiel USA caught up with Ahn, whose fans include Kanye West, ASAP Rocky, and Naomi Campbell, and spoke with her about her creative process and design inspirations regarding this new launch.
L'Officiel: You’ve said that you were inspired by the Tree Python of Southeast Asia for this collection. What led you to use this particular snake as a reference?
Yoon Ahn: It was their presence, color, and movement. I felt like it was a perfect muse for our Serpenti bag.
L'O: Why did you choose to emphasize the edgy playfulness of the serpent as opposed to other qualities often associated with snakes (such as their intimidating, dangerous nature)?
YA: I myself always been a little intimidated by snakes, so it was essential to express the beauty of snakes and capture it in a more approachable and lively way.
L'O: Why is versatility an important element to feature in these bags?
YA: You can go from a day look with sneakers to an evening look just by attaching or taking off the strap. You can have fun using the bag as an accent, like a piece of jewelry for your outfit! I imagine everyone carrying them.
YA: Those color palettes were inspired by Tree Pythons. At first glance, you would think it’s artificial, but it’s fascinating to know that these vivid tones exist in the wild. I wanted to be inspired by the beauty of nature.
L'O: How do you think serpents represent the glamour and mystery of Bulgari?
YA: Through their presence in exquisite pieces of jewelry and bags. Bulgari has done a fantastic job reinterpreting them through the ages.
L'O: What were some of the joys and challenges of collaborating with a renowned house such as Bulgari, whose aesthetic is quite different from that of your own brand?
YA: I haven't designed that many bags before, so it was a new experience for me. However, concept meeting functionality is quite similar to the jewelry designing process. Visiting Bulgari's factory where they produce the bags was mindblowing too. Seeing so many artisans working so closely and precisely in each part of the bag was really inspiring.
Collaboration isn't about reconciling the differences, but rather bringing the best out of each other. We both stand strong in our own identities and ethos, so I wanted to see where we can head together in creation.
L'O: How do you think the years you’ve spent in Tokyo, working on Ambush, have influenced this collection?
YA: Everything I work on is has a piece of me. Being a city girl, I appreciated knowing more about the amazing snakes and their beautiful surroundings in nature.
L'O: Has the pandemic influenced your creative vision at all?
YA: In the beginning, it was hard to adapt to stay put in one place, but now I have a better new groove, so it turned out ok after all!
To purchase the collection, click here.