MILAN — Bulgari is introducing its first eyewear collection produced and distributed by Thélios, aiming to further elevate the accessory.
Choosing Thélios is “consistent with Bulgari’s strategy of raising our image across the board, from jewelry and watches to hotels, rendering our eyewear increasingly more desirable and more precious,” explained Jean-Christophe Babin, chief executive officer of Bulgari. “Thélios produces eyewear only for luxury brands, and will help us in our ambition to be recognized as among the most exclusive and luxurious brands in all our categories.”
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The deal with Thélios, first revealed last May, as reported, comes into effect this month, succeeding Bulgari’s former licensee EssilorLuxottica, which first linked with the Roman jewelry house in 1996.
Thélios is controlled by Bulgari’s parent LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and produces collections for its subsidiaries Dior, Fendi and Celine as well as Loewe, Givenchy and Stella McCartney, among others.
Babin conceded that EssilorLuxottica over the years had played a strong role in creating a “unique and distinctive identity” for Bulgari’s eyewear, but that it is now “taking advantage of Thélios’ experience in working with acetate and metals. These are especially important for Bulgari as the main elements on the arms and reminiscent of the brand’s jewels.”
Bulgari’s signature codes are now expressed “in an even stronger way without losing their elegance,” continued Babin. “We are glorifying the Bulgari signs in an even more impactful way, further expressing their strength.”
Alessandro Zanardo, CEO of Thélios — a role he has held since February 2022, joining from the Luxottica Group and succeeding Giovanni Zoppas — said he was “extremely proud to start this new collaboration and to offer to Bulgari our expertise in the creation, production and distribution of their sunglasses and optical frames collections. Thanks to this integrated partnership, our teams collaborate closely with the maison to create exquisite eyewear pieces that capture the essence of their DNA and fully integrate into their product offer.”
Zanardo highlighted that, with Thélios’ selective distribution strategy, the company offers brands “access to the most curated eyewear retail network in the world.”
In fact, Babin said that Bulgari with Thélios will further control the distribution of its eyewear collections in a selective way, as it has been doing for watches and perfumes. Retail prices will also increase by more than 40 percent, as it will employ more luxurious materials in the designs.
Eyewear “is part of our recruiting strategy, attracting younger customers, who may not have the spending power to approach our jewelry, as it happens with our perfumes and small leather goods,” Babin said.
The spring collection comprises the Serpenti eyewear line, inspired by Bulgari’s jewelry, featuring the snake through geometric scales on gold-finish metal temples, or faceted and smoky lenses with shiny polished angles recalling the design of diamonds.
The Serpenti Forever glasses show the snake head clasp — also seen on the brand’s bags of the same name — embellished with hand-applied enamels on the hinge. “Manufacturing techniques rooted in the world of jewelry are applied to eyewear,” remarked Babin.
The B.Zero1 glasses are bold, echoing the brand’s signature design first conceived by the late architect Zaha Hadid and here featuring a precious trim with enamel on the temples.
For men, the glasses are inspired by Bulgari’s signature timepieces with an octagonal case and super-flat design, the Octo Roma and Octo Finissimo. Mirroring the watch’s unique features and resembling its geometries, the frames are crafted in titanium for lightness, comfort and technology, while the lenses reflect the hues of the sophisticated lacquered dials.
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