From the jewelled birds nest hats of Alexander McQueen to Hussein Chalayan’s futuristic bubble dress, Swarovski has been instrumental in creating some of the most iconic pieces of the past 15 years. But how did an Austrian jewellery empire end up nurturing a generation of designers? It began with a friendship struck up between Nadja Swarovski and late fashion editor Isabella Blow, which led to a collaboration with McQueen for SS99. The collection laid the foundations for the Swarovski Collective, a programme offering year-long financial support to emerging designers and use of the brand’s coveted crystals in their designs. Now Swarovski and Dazed are teaming up this Spring to host an exhibition marking 15 years of the initiative, which has championed some of this century’s boldest talents including Iris van Herpen and Rodarte, and remains at the vanguard of the industry today.
“Swarovski is so far removed from the grungy, dishevelled look we love and work on,” say Marques’Almeida of their glittering SS15 show with the collective. “So it was incredible to create something by putting these two very different attitudes together.” Crystals were hand-sewn with hanging threads, alongside second-skin organza tops and denim bum bags festooned with chunky gemstones. Elsewhere, Rodarte dripped rock constellations from sheer and net fabric for their shimmering SS15 mermaid-led collection. “The way that it is cut allows for light to reflect off a garment to create incredible depth,” the design duo explain. “By nature, it is so ethereal.”
Photography Jai Odell; styling Nell Kalonji; hair Naoki Komiya at Julian Watson Agency using Kiehl’s; make-up Laura Dominique at Streeters using M.A.C; model Matilda Lowther at Select; photographic assistants Jared Beck, Ben Parks-Wardell; styling assistant Rosie Marks, Ioana Ivan; casting Noah Shelley
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