Light, camera and couture: the Swarovski crystal saga continues with Paris Couture Week, with five designers presenting provocative, conceptual Swarovski crystallized collections in the city of lights. From Iris Van Herpen’s metaphoric foray into soundwaves to Ludovic Winterstan’s take on a dark wintry romance, Swarovski crystal was taken to new heights with each masterful show.
Celebrating a ninth season collaborating with designer Alexandre Vauthier, a Swarovski crystallized Autumn/Winter 2016 Haute Couture collection was unveiled on July 5 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Working to a theme of ‘subtle camouflage’ and inspired by python patterns, the French couturier presented exotic skins, lush furs, silks and leathers in a brooding mix of blacks, khaki greens and browns. Seven of Vauthier’s looks were embellished with a total of over 100,000 crystals. Key details included crystal fringing on bandage wrap dresses alongside metal eyelet and stud details, crystal embroidery on a bustier and camo print pants, and crystal transfers on fishnet tights, tops, dresses and sheer silk gowns.
Swarovski Collective member Iris Van Herpen went next level for her runways at Couture week, debuting a collection as experiential as it was expressive. Her penultimate look, a crystal dew-drop gown, featured over 60,000 crystal beads combined with silicone and tulle to create an eye-catching, striking climax to the collection. Inspired by the study of cymatics (sound waves visualized as geometric patterns), Van Herpen used Swarovski crystals to render the looks unique interpretations: “Crystal reminds me of water, it inspires me in the light reflections interactive with movement. I saw macro photos from insects covered in dew drops in early sunrise and that’s what the crystal dew-drop gown reminds me of,” says Van Herpen.
Working with lavish velvets, damasks and jacquards, trompe l’oeil details and photo prints, designer Giles embellished his Couture collection with intricate crystal detailing, ranging from laser cut crystallized floral embroidery to layered silk petal, feather and Swarovski pearl ornamentation. Giles commented: “We took inspiration from Lady Ottoline Morrell, a patron of the Bloomsbury Group who was known for her extravagant parties and love of crystal.”
“Swarovski is part of my DNA: crystals, feathers and corsets,” designer Serkan Cura commented. For his latest collection during Couture week, Cura used over 165,000 fancy and round stones in a range of pink, clear and golden shadow tones to create his architectural Haute Couture silhouettes. Crystal touches appeared alongside laced, corseted and elaborately plumed looks. “Crystals are the perfect way for me to enhance any dress. It allows me to give this extra feeling of glamour, an additional sexy touch and of course this sparkling effect.”
Dark romance reigned supreme at Ludovic Winterstan’s Autumn/Winter 2016 show, with more than 180,000 crystals to woven for a technically ambitious, finely wrought Haute Couture collection. Playing with a mixture of dark and metallic tones from jet, graphite, and siam to silver night and metallic light gold, crystals appeared across clothes and makeup looks. Winterstan commented: “We painted the dresses using crystals such as pigments in the paint. We also worked with crystals as ‘curtains’, sometimes falling, sometimes mounted on the beaded silicone or as inlay in the knitting.”
With its rich history and heritage in couture, support of contemporary designers and continued commitment to championing creative talents around the globe, Swarovski continues to be an essential ingredient in the fashion world. From collaborations dating back to Chanel and Christian Dior, Swarovski remains at the forefront of fashion innovation and expression.