Swarovski is definitely heard by everyone, especially couturiers, who use these alluring crystals in their dresses. But the company rarely talks about its history:
In 1895, Daniel Swarovski, the founder, from Wattens, a village in Austria, emerged as a young entrepreneur. He invented an electric cutting machine that facilitated the production of lead crystal and glass jewellery and developed all the possibilities of shapes, colors and brightness. These features quickly earned him distinctions including the immediate attention of Charles Frederick Worth, the first fashion designer in history.
In 1900, as Haute Couture blossomed in The Golden Era of Paris, Worth’s corseted dresses were adorned with glittering constellations of Swarovski crystals, capturing the attention of couturiers and their clientele.
These rich collaborations with the world of fashion will acclaim a company today culminating of five generations. Theatre and cinema have also exploited the peculiarities of this exceptional provider.
Designers such as Callot and Paquin Doucet, used Swarovski, as an art to beautify their dresses. Jewelry dresses of the Roaring Twenties are soaked with sequins, beads or crystals, which are arranged to touch-key, in sinuous lines or fringes that shine brightly in their short styles and simple lines. Featuring models such as Jerome Beer or at Agnes, the geometric embroidery was completely daring.
In the 1930’s, renowned designers such as Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin and Elsa Schiaparelli handle crystals sparingly and in good taste be it to emphasize a shoulder, flatter a waist, or highlight the graceful curve of a back.
It was not until the 1950s that the introduction of excessive crystals resurrected in fashion. Bracelets and necklaces by Roger Scémama for Jacques Fath and Cristóbal Balenciaga show the right amount of sparkle and elegance.
In 1956, at the request of Christian Dior in search of a specific color, Manfred Swarovski creates the Aurora Borealis crystal, to embody the nuances of the North Pole. The creator of the “New Look” used crystals in abundance. To cover his cocktail dresses, to adorn plunging necklines and as a base for the neck.
Collected in a frieze around a neck or at the bottom of a dress, embroidery crystals play a radical and revolutionary role in the 1960s.
In 1962, drenched with embroidered Swarovski crystals that appear on the skin as a dress accentuating her curves, Marilyn Monroe appears for her unforgettable 1962 rendition of Happy Birthday for President JF Kennedy.
In the 1980’s, Christian Lacroix and Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel give Haute Couture a new life. They encouraged the return of embroidery and baroque splendor.
Thierry Mugler, in his Haute Couture collections, used crystals to transform his gowns into nocturnal cityscapes. Claude Montana for Lanvin, John Galliano at Dior, Alexander McQueen at Givenchy all recognized the virtues of a specific diffused light inside a crystal and to make clothes that appear as shooting stars.
Since 1999, Nadja Swarovski (the great-granddaughter of the founder) develops collaborations diligently in constant concern to preserve and deepen the close relationship with the fashion of the time.
Today, Swarovski puts its know-how and technical quality of experimental and stylistic research. This is seen in the gorgeous shimmer of the LED dress; a phenomenon of precision engineering created by Hussein Chalayan.
Acting in all disciplines, not only in fashion but also in design and the visual arts, Nadja Swarovski wanted to push the limits of expression and application of the crystal. It is now a land of endless experimentation apart from fashion, the Bouroullec brothers, Ron Arad find themselves drawn to Swarovski for special and unusual orders.
Swarovski has expanded to all industries of fashion, ready-to-wear jewelery, but it is in the rare and noble discipline of haute couture that the company has been revealed. Swarovski offers more than a century of involvement in Haute Couture through the fads and classics, which was beautifully displayed at the Paris Haute Couture Exhibition at Hotel de Ville in Paris.
New generation designers; Alexandre Vauthier, Alexis Mabille, Yiqing Yin have collaborated with Swarovski to successfully integrated in their collection to create magic.
DESIGNER QUOTES – YIQING YIN COUTURE AW13
What are you most excited about for this coming AW13 season?
This season is the very first time I will present a full couture collection which allowed me to break all constraints and rely exclusively on my emotions and the sole artistic instinct and exploration.
What was the inspiration for your collection and how do Swarovski Elements add to your collection?
The inspiration is in between lunacy and seabed. I aimed to create some ecosystem textures and that are poetic and disturbing at the same time.
Is there a specific look you are most proud of creating this season and why?
The “Hermione” look is a sprawling dress in between a jellyfish and a camisole made with Swarovski elements. It was very exciting to use Swarovski crystals in a divert way that happened to be very experimental.
DESIGNER QUOTES- ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER COUTURE AW13
What amazes you and excites you most about this new collection 2013 AH?
As always, prepare a new parade and tell a new story.
Every season, I try to go further with my team and my partners in creating a new concept but still contains the DNA of the brand and its look.
What were your inspirations and how you incorporated Swarovski crystals in your silhouettes this collection?
Swarovski crystals are really part of my DNA. My embroideries are extremely recognizable and Swarovski crystals symbolize this signature. This season, I present a new range of colors in the parade, a spirit flavored than cold emanates from these embroideries.
Among your creations, is there a look you’re most proud of and why?
Of course, all embroidered pieces! Since the beginning, I met quality Swarovski crystals Lesage excellence and know-how of Goossens. This season, the final is an introspection of all these exchanges and collaborations. It brings together all the « Crafts » I work with (Lemarié Lesage, Goossens) and of course, Swarovski!
For more than a decade, Swarovski has supported artists who knew adopted the crystal as a creative material – what do you think of the role that plays in the Swarovski home fashion industry and why is it so important ?
They have always supported me from the beginning. They have the heart to push young talent. Passionate, curious and responsive, Swarovski allows each designer to express his own creative idea is a real support and no doubt added value.
What are your challenges and future projects?
There are so many! But promised, you will discover very soon …
– Caroline Lobo