Ginevra Elkann
Borbonese Inspirations

17 December 2015

It all started in Turin in 1910, with the jewelry and accessory workshop taken over by the milliner Lucia Lorenzoni Ginestrone, who already supplied some of the best-known dressmakers in the city. It was then that Borbonese was born, a brand celebrated today in the highly imaginative book Borbonese Inspirations, edited by Ginevra Elkann, whose link with creative activities in the former capital of the Duchy of Savoy is confirmed by her role of vice president of the Pinacoteca Gianni e Marella Agnelli. The volume is lavishly illustrated with pictures and colorful still lifes, bound together by the thread of nature, represented with all the whimsicality of a Wunderkammer. But while there is a wide variety of flora, the fauna is limited to four species that are iconic for the brand: the partridge, which gave its name to the hide called OP (occhio di pernice, literally “partridge’s eye,” the Italian name for a bird’s eye pattern), becoming a symbol of Borbonese in the seventies with its classical and delicate pointillism; the butterfly, forged out of metal as a precious buckle; the owl, often used as a print and decoration in charms and on fabrics; and finally the horse, which is also represented by the presence of metal stirrups. Artistic references abound: in the drawings, in the naturalistic illustrations, in the various mises-en-scène of the accessories or as an explicit allusion to the famous bag inspired by an original design by Giacomo Balla and produced in 1986. The poet Kenneth Goldsmith has written the introduction: “[…] Four animals—the partridge, the owl, the butterfly, and the horse—have served as the basis of the Borbonese line from its inception. The history of Borbonese reaches back into the deepest recesses of our collective history, while at the same time serving to remind us of the fragile relationship between nature and man in the 21st century.” Published by Rizzoli International.

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