Bulgari, Which Just Debuted World’s Thinnest Watch, Opens New South Coast Plaza Boutique

Bulgari celebrated the grand opening of a newly expanded and relocated boutique at South Coast Plaza Tuesday night.

Featuring a number of boutique exclusives created especially for the store launch, the 5,000-square-foot shopping space “pays tribute to Rome’s rich heritage,” according to a release. The facade of the flagship boutique is inspired by the brand’s iconic Tubogas bands.

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Inside, there’s a special section dedicated to men’s watches, a pair of private shopping salons and an area displaying Bulgari handbags, plus the very first Bulgari Lounge — a bar and café offering light refreshments — in North America.

The night’s intimate celebration included a dinner for invited guests and a performance by singer Jordin Sparks. CEO of Bulgari North America, Herve Perrot, addressed the guests to discuss the creation of a “new Bulgari world in South Coast Plaza.” Perrot also alluded that the space would be a blueprint for Bulgari stores going forward.

“I think there is a Bulgari before and a Bulgari after South Coast Plaza,” Perrot told the crowd. “You will see that when you visit the store. This is quite impressive.”

Perrot surprised guests with an announcement that Michelin-starred chef Luca Fantin had prepared the evening’s meal. The acclaimed chef opened Bulgari’s Il Ristorante Luca Fantin in Tokyo 15 years ago.

The boutique also commissioned local artist Gena Milanesi to debut a new abstract piece titled Fleeting Moments; the painting was inspired by watching a West Coast sunset.

“With my Italian roots and growing up in California, this project means a great deal to me since it seamlessly blends all aspects of my individual style,” Milanesi said in a statement. “Whether it be on a canvas or a jewelry collection, these daring colors make a statement that becomes timeless.”

Bulgari South Coast Plaza.

Upon entering the space, guests are greeted with white Travertino Navona marble and a chandelier in the form of Bulgari’s signature Serpenti snake motifs, made by Venini in Murano glass. An eight-point star — a reference to the original Bulgari store that opened in Rome in 1884 — is the focal point of the boutique.

The store also introduces guests to the California Journeys capsule collection, which features high jewelry and watch pieces, fine jewelry and accessories. The store will also offer the exclusive Crystal Sparkle leather goods collection, which includes a Serpenti Forever XS bag with hand-applied Swarovski Crystals and a Fuji Crocodile Serpenti Forever handbag with a pavé diamond Serpenti clasp.

At the just-concluded Watches and Wonders show in Geneva, Switzerland, the brand has reclaimed the title of the world’s thinnest mechanical watch with the reveal of the Octo Finissimo Ultra Mark II, clocking in at just 1.7 millimeters thick.

An item from California Journeys capsule collection.

Bulgari, which dates back to 1884, boasts such A-list ambassadors as Challengers star Zendaya.

Bulgari isn’t the only high-end brand expanding at South Coast Plaza. Cartier and Gucci will be opening larger stores soon. Balmain, the largest Balenciaga in the Americas, Maison Margiela and Giorgio Armani have all opened at the space in the last six months.

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