In celebration of it’s centennial, Italian fashion house Gucci has launched Hortus Deliciarum (Garden of Delights) a 130-piece high jewellery collection inspired by nature. The campaign stars British actress and model Josie Turner-Smith, and features the rising star posing poolside in the company of her exotic pet snake and yellow canary, taking a midnight dip decked in precious jewels reminiscent of the romanticism and elegance of the Roaring 20’s, as Diana Ross’s ‘Love Hangover’ plays in the background.
The high jewellery collection debuted on 20 June at Lake Maggiore’s Villa Pallavicino in Stresa Italy. The mid-19th-century neoclassical residence with an extensive 18 hectare botanical garden is home to over 50 species of mammals and birds. This, along with the fact that the Villa’s grounds contain some of Italy’s oldest trees and countless tropical flower species, makes it the perfect backdrop to introduce the world to this collection inspired by mythical beasts and ancient fauna.
The second collection for Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, Hortus Deliciarum (Garden of Delights) is a 130-piece Favola, filled with Italian artistry, vivid gemstones that the house has been collecting for years, and bold settings. Each of its four chapters feature the eclectic and vivid design details that Michele brings to his ready-to-wear creations for the Florentine fashion house, illustrating the enchanted landscapes of our galaxy, from planet earth to the scintillating cosmos.
Chapter one is an ode to mother nature and her most picturesque landscapes. Her lush green forests, turquoise blue lagoons and sparkling waterfalls are brought to life through a selection of step-cut and brilliant, green and blue gems. Michele emboldens select pieces by adding a touch movement, with diamond tassels evoking the unstoppable and free-flowing nature of water. Aptly named in french “en tremblant “ technique with which the stones are set translates to “trembling” and describes the light dancing movement of the pieces when worn.
The second chapter is all about the gradient colours of sunset and nightfall. The details of each piece are reminiscent of the gothic and the highly romantic jewels of the nineteenth century. Diamond pavés and rivière necklaces preval, featuring mystical opals, burnt orange spessartite garnets and twilight-hued gemstones which serve to perfectly recreate the fleeting gradual shift in colours of the sky from dawn to dusk. These colour contrasts are what Michele calls “discordant symmetry”.
The classic rose motif reigns in chapter three. Set against a dark sky of indicolites, the pieces showcase various interpretations of this elegant flower. Sensual sautoirs, Rococo bows and transformable brooches set with bouquets of light and demure-coloured gemstones such as the Padparadscha sapphire, bring to life the elegant shape of rose buds on the verge of blossoming symbolising love and renewal.
The fourth and final chapter depicts Gucci’s animal kingdom. Michele’s infamous lion head symbol and raging tigers take center stage, set with sky-blue tanzanites, tsavorites, yellow beryls and opals. The highlight piece is a necklace featuring a 16.36-carat opal surrounded by a pride of lions. All of the powerful animals in this collection as well as their prides live under the watchful eye of Dionysus, the greek god of nature, pleasure and ecstasy.
This collection of mostly one of a kind pieces serves to remind us to take a moment to look around and marvel at nature’s creations whether on land, sea or in the sky.