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Conversations: Lily Aldridge Gets Real About Jewellery

We met with the top model in New York City, where she unveiled her very first campaign as the newest ambassador of Bulgari.
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It is easy to understand why Lily Aldridge was handpicked to be Bulgari’s latest ambassador. As the model stepped into the Italian house’s boutique on 57th Street for our interview, we really couldn’t help but turn to look at her. Sporting a simple chignon, silk camisole, paneled trousers and her signature dark brows, the towering Aldridge is a picture of poise and elegance. Dancerly, almost. (She also had a gorgeous green silk robe on. We didn’t get the label, unfortunately.) It is a different side to the model and her sensual, powerful runway persona. The sensuality is still there, of course, but it is of the quiet, subtle sort. In fact, Lily’s multi-faceted personality, as we were told earlier at a press conference, is the exact driving force behind Bulgari’s decision to cast her.

The feeling is mutual, of course. “My family is Italian, so it means a lot [for me] to represent Italian brands,” she shares with the small crowd that had hustled into the boutique on Monday morning for her big campaign reveal. “I like experimenting with colours, I like being bold and I like taking risks, and I feel that Bulgari let’s me do that. They let me express myself, they let me feel passion for these bold colours.”

Elegant and composed as she may be, the social media star and bonafide It girl had zero airs about her. Punctuating her interview with hearty laughter, Lily in the flesh is as warm and genuine as she is on her widely followed – understatement of the year, really, seeing that her followers are in the millions – Instagram. Here, she talks about jewellery starter kits, working with Mario Testino on the campaign and passing on her Bulgari collection to her daughter.


When did you first become interested in jewellery?
I think just as a young girl, one of the first things you get is that fake jewellery kit that is made of plastic and it feels so cute with your ten rings on that are in neon colours. [Jewellery] has just always been a part of my life. I love jewellery, I love fashion, I love beauty. I love experimenting with fashion, and jewellery is a big part of that.

 

What was one of your first Bulgari pieces?
When we first shot the campaign, they gave me this amazing goodie bag of treats which was just the icing on the cake after getting to shoot with Mario in Rome. They actually gave me this ring. [Lily points to a gold bejewelled ring from the latest Serpenti collection on her finger, and the whole room goes “Awwww!”] I know! I felt like I was getting engaged. It was very exciting.

 

What about the one piece that you wear a lot of?
This piece! [She points to the B.zero1 “Perfect Mistake” ring on her left hand] If you see my street style or paparazzi pictures, I’m almost always wearing this. I just think it is such a cool statement ring. It really goes with everything. It is a little classic, but also rock-n-roll, too. It is just a really great piece.

 

You have a daughter, Dixie. Do you ever look at a piece of jewellery and think, “Oh, I can pass this on to her”?
Absolutely! I mean, the Serpenti ring is definitely going to be passed on to my daughter. Hopefully she won’t steal it when she’s a teenager! [Laughs] She probably will. I’ll have to hide it. But yes, when you have beautiful pieces of jewellery, the first thing you think of is that one day your children will get it.

 

What makes the Serpenti so alluring to you?
Bulgari is a brand that is so bold, and they take risks and make great choices with they colours they use. Serpenti, as you know, is a snake, and there’s something so passionate, strong and sexy about a snake. When you wear it, you kind of feel that passion. It is just such an interesting [motif]. It’s something I’ve never seen in any other jewellery designer.

 

Let’s talk about the campaign. What was it like shooting with Mario?
Mario Testino is the most fabulous man. He is so much fun and there is no one who will make you feel more at ease, confident and sexy as he does. He just brings such an amazing energy to the set and makes you get into whatever character you’re portraying that day so effortlessly. I love him so much.

 

What was the best part about shooting the campaign?
Being in Rome, which was so magical. It is a city filled with so much culture and vibrance. Obviously, getting to wear these incredible pieces of jewellery is also exciting. You feel so elegant and you kind of squeal every time they put a new piece on you, and then cry a little every time they take it away. [Laughs]

 

Any interesting behind-the-scenes stories?
We got to shoot [the campaign] over a few days and I got to know the security because the jewellery on me was major! [Laughs] There were a lot of guards, so there was a lot of joking with each other when they take it away and pretend to run out of the building.

 

Bulgari has a history that goes way back. What do you think you bring to the brand as its newest face?
Bulgari always has these really iconic women [as ambassadors] and the brand is also huge about giving back. Like today, we’re doing a portrait with Save The Children which is so dear to my heart. Giving back is so important to me. We live in such a blessed world and blessed lives that anytime I can work with a brand that has some aspect like that, it is something that I am drawn to. [Bulgari and I] are already planning a trip that we can do for Save The Children.

 

How does Bulgari’s qualities resonate with your personality?
They make choices and they’re not scared to take risks, and that’s very much how I like to do fashion. I make bold choices and I’m not scared about what people think, while at the same time also being very classic. And we’re also both Italian! It is very nice working with an Italian brand.

 

How does it feel to personify Bulgari’s “Roman goddess”?
I mean, it was great! [Laughs] It was very powerful. This character came up in me and it was just one of a strong, very powerful woman. I felt unstoppable. There was just this…thing. Even Mario was like, “This side of you came out that I’ve never seen!” It was just something about the city of Rome and the jewellery. It was just very empowering. Something really magical happened during the shoot.

 

What do you think makes a woman sparkle?
To me, it it really about your inner beauty. It you’re a vibrant, nice person, people are drawn to you, to your smile. It is so inviting and you can’t stop looking at someone who is smiling in a crowd of people that aren’t. I think if you’re a happy person and an open person, than that to me is the most beautiful.

 

What about luxury? How would you define it?
Luxury to me is just a way of life. It is even the simplest things, like taking the time for yourself, taking a bath, enjoying the day, looking up at the sky and smiling. It doesn’t have to be actual property. Just enjoying life and appreciating the things that you have.

 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. (Also, we finally got Facebook. Like us over here, maybe?)

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