By Marcella Martinelli
With her confident timeless style Carolina Bucci is the modern cutting-edge Jewellery designer who combines Florentine woven creations with wearability, sustainability and relaxed glamour.
What inspires the beauty, modernity and wearability of your jewellery?
I design pieces that I love to wear – it all starts with a selfish desire. I don’t design things I don’t want myself. On top of that I love the idea of mixing and matching collections so that all of our pieces, however unrelated, should be able to work together.
Which is your most cherished piece?
In terms of design, it has to be my lucky bracelets which kickstarted my brand after they appeared on Sarah Jessica Parker in SATC. In terms of individual pieces, it is probably one of the least valuable, but most sentimental -a simple ring in the shape of a butterfly that my husband bought in a downtown NY gift shop and used to propose with.
You were born into a family of Italian jewellers, what other profession might have attracted you, had you not pursued your family trade?
I have always loved painting pottery – in fact, I studied it a little bit in both Italy and NY – and at one stage I dreamt of opening a small store with a kiln in the back where I would sell my painted designs.
You have collaborated with many charities, is there one in particular close to your heart?
We have just been working with Citymeals in NYC – they deliver food and company to elderly homebound in NY. The lockdown months have given us all a firsthand experience of what it is to be cut off from the rest of the world and so, right now, that cause feels particularly important to me.
After the lockdown, what do you think is the best way to reconnect with your clients?
Offer them a genuine, unique experience – to become immersed in our world. We have 1950s Italian art, and 1960s Italian furniture. We have our own store scent. Our playlist. There is nothing like walking into a happy store and feeling like you are special and looked after. That is the level of service that we aim for and I don’t believe the convenience of online shopping can be compared. The difficulty in my view,is not reconnecting with clients, but being able to bring some of our physical store magic to our online experience.
Tell us about the collaboration with Audemars Piguet, how did it happen?
I had been wearing an old 1980s gold Royal Oak in press shoots, and at some point a mutual friend introduced me to Francois Bennahmias the AP CEO. He wanted to know why I was wearing a decades-old men’s watch and not one of their new women’s pieces. Flippantly, I told him they didn’t excite me enough, and he asked me point blank “do you think you can do better?”. My answer was yes, obviously, and 2 years. l later we released the first Frosted Gold Royal Oak.
In this ever changing world, what motivates you?
Making things that people want. There is so much work and time that goes into new pieces. Design. Manufacture. Packaging. Marketing… that sometimes by the time things launch I become a little “over” them. But then, when they start selling, and especially when things are selling faster than we can make them, that is such a great feeling and reminds me what it is all about.
Equally it is very important to me that I am the latest Bucci to carry our family business forward. That idea of legacy filters into everything that we do with the business… in terms of how we treat employees, how we think about sustainability, and our commitment to charitable causes. So, to answer your question more generally, I guess the idea that I leave the family business in good shape for future generations is my overriding motivation.
What is your most treasured memory?
Any lazy day without a phone at our house in the countryside in upstate NY. Spending time with my family, and properly switching off. Those are the best moments.
Do you have a favourite city?
New York is hard to beat. I moved there when I was 18 and stayed for 10 years. One day, when my children are older and doing their own thing, I would love to live there again.
What is your motto?
If you don’t ask,
you don’t get.