Swarovski Crystal has been collaborating with the fashion industry since the early 1930s; Coco Chanel created costume jewellery with the brand, in the 1940s Hollywood royalty such as Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich all wore gowns adorned in the crystals and in the 1960s Audrey Hepburn wore her Swarovski jewels in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
In 1999 they started their sponsorship programme, The Swarovski Collective, which sees them collaborating and supporting all levels of fashion brands, giving them the opportunity to use the stones innovatively in their collections. Past alliances include Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, Balenciaga, Viktor & Rolf and Christopher Kane.
They’ve just announced who they’ll be working with during this week’s London Fashion Week A/W 2011: Roksanda Ilincic, Holly Fulton, House of Holland, Mary Katrantzou, Giles, Richard Nicoll, J W Anderson, Erdem and Marios Schwab. Some of the designers have given Stylist some exclusive sketches and quotes, so that we get a taster of what sparkly creations they have in store for us…
“The initial inspiration for AW11 came from looking at Birds of Prey. The rich diversity of their colourings and markings is incredible. The colours combines shades of oranges, reds and burgundys. Pearls in ivory highlight a fabric covered in gunmetal panelling. This creates a dark, weighted textile, which draws the eye in to pinpoints of graded luminous pearls. Black pearls will also feature, densely strung and hanging from sections of tightly embroidered fabric, moving with the wearer and creating dynamic outfits. Mosaic Stones in natural tones of Amber and Sand, and in organic shapes, will be sewn onto coats and dresses. Combined with innovative use of feathers, and sewn onto a base of thick, felted wool, they provide an essential sculptural element to the designs.”
“AW11 is loosely inspired by the time Chanel spent in Scotland with the Duke of Westminster at his country retreat. They were rumoured to be the happiest days of her life, she dressed down during the day and indulged her passion for tweed then slipped into simple yet seductive pieces by night. The collection incorporates my love of the graphic with my signature elements such as embellishment, crystal, print, exotic skins and the general feeling of contemporary luxury. This season the Swarovski elements are taking a more abstract approach; inspired by Jackson Pollocks use of paint and the pop art aesthetic of dripping paint, they look like they have been decadently poured over simple yet luxurious garments.”
“It's a collection that looks at the Objects D'Art that people collect and the interwar period when artists collaborated in fashion and design. The collection was inspired by Faberge, coromandel screens, and porcelain. The crystals are used to embellish these pieces, as if they were real and replicate their construction and decoration.”
“You can expect a sleek, austere, dramatic look with wild embellishments of Swarovski primarily in Jet Black - adding texture and depth to the silhouette. There are beautifully sewn mixtures of crystal pearl and a wide range of beads. We hope to have created a very interesting texture with our use of stones while also mixing other materials such as feathers and tweed together.”
“My A/W 2011 collection has a sense of athleticism, ease, comfort, freedom and colour. I'm using Swarovski as jewellery and abstracted versions of sportswear branding on clothes.”
J W Anderson
"A/ W 2011 is a new chapter in the story, it's about the cultivation of new and interesting subcultures. This season we have heavily focused on pearls - embedding and entwining them into bodycon ribbon work tops and back panel skirts."