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SKIMS x Swarovski Kim Kardashian collar
Photography Vanessa Beecroft, Courtesy of Swarovski

Kim Kardashian talks fangirling Britney for her big Swarovski collab

Kim discusses her crystallised SKIMS collection, having free range to go ‘full bling’, and whether round two could be on the cards

The scene inside Bergdorf Goodman’s Fifth Avenue behemoth of a store summed up the SKIMS x Swarovski collab to a tee. 

Up on the third floor, where beams of early afternoon sun lit up the floor in columns, amid mirrored logo stands and mannequins carved to the exact same va-va-voom specs as Kim Kardashian’s own body, there was nothing left just a couple of hours after the partnership officially landed. The only pieces to be found were a sparse handful of crystallised thongs and the super-stretchy, gem-studded bodies, skirts, and floor-length dresses scattered across empty rails. “It was crazy this morning,” explained a sales associate who’d witnessed the hordes pillage the collection as soon as the store’s doors opened. “We turned around and just about everything was gone.”

It’s yet another clear cut case of everything Kimmy touches turning to gold – or in this case, glittering crystals – with both the entrepreneur and recently-instated Swarovski creative director Giovanna Engelbert surely laughing all the way to the bank. But beyond the whirr of cash registers and the clunk of their drawer popping open and slamming shut, for Kardashian and Engelbert, it was about far more than the final, stratospheric sales figures, with the two women intent on working together for a substantial amount of time before it actually happened. 

“We have a very similar work ethic, we both really believe in hard work, and when we start a project, we’re really dedicated to getting it done,” explains Engelbert from her office on the 26th floor of Swarovski’s New York HQ. Dressed in a slick, almost dominatrix-y black pencil dress and trench coat, she’s unsurprisingly dripping in crystals, with statement pieces strung around her neck and dripping from her ears. The former stylist joined the Swarovski fold in 2020, when she “didn’t meet [her] team for a year,” but has since helped overhaul the revered family crystal house for a new gen of fashion fans – bringing in buzzy industry names like designer Marco Panconesi to turn out couture-level jewellery. Now a little over three years into her tenure, Engelbert had her eyes on Kim K from the start, she tells me. 

With SKIMS fast on its way to becoming a household name, working with Swarovski offered Kim a chance to dip a toe in waters she’d previously not paddled in. Until now, SKIMS leaned in the direction of comfort, with stretchy leggings, wireless bras, and cosy sweats featuring heavily within each drop. Sure, there were a handful of statement collections, like the metallic swimwear that dominated Instagram feeds everywhere across the summer of 2022, but joining forces with Swarovski meant she could go all-out glamorous for the first time – an area she’s familiar with IRL, but so far hadn’t expanded into the SKIMS universe.

“We had a lot of old Hollywood glam, down to the Marilyn [Monroe] gown I wore, and even that Britney Spears “Toxic” catsuit on the moodboard,” she reveals of the inspiration behind the collection, which incorporates ready-to-wear, lingerie, and a series of Y2K-appropriate body chains strewn with gems. “I loved how creative it allowed me to be, and to go out and do full bling – take all those simple, sporty materials, like the jersey and the mesh, and transform it into something so glamorous.” Importantly, comfort hasn’t gone out of the window, though. “It was a lot of trial and error and development to find the right combination of crystals so the pieces wouldn’t be uncomfortable when you sit down,” adds Engelbert. It makes sense: no one wants a swathe of tiny gems sticking into their butt, no matter how good the outfit looks.

Coinciding with the SKIMS launch was another milestone for Swarovski, as it [almost] threw open the doors to its new flagship Fifth Avenue store. As it stood, the space wasn’t quite ready in time, and while Kim was allowed to be filmed checking out the candy-hued crystal playground, the dual SKIMS and new-store-party ended up taking place upstairs, in a stripped back concrete space dotted with silver mirrored installations. Still, though it didn’t get quite as grand a debut as Swarovski hoped [given the team is full of detail-oriented perfectionists, according to Engelbert] the night felt like a monumental moment anyway. 

Now three years into her tenure at the top of the house, the only way is up – and, perhaps, another SKIMS collab? “It’s just one drop for now, but it’s really interesting to see who writes [to] me about each SKIMS drop,” says Kim. “With this one… it was everyone, all my friends. I’d love to do a second collection, but it’s not in the works yet. More catsuits… more bling… more lingerie. The opportunities are endless.” 

Usually, we would add the link here so you could shop the collection for yourself, but its all sold out – so in this instance, try eBay we guess? Click through the gallery above for a closer look anyway.