Swarovski is taking its crystal game up a notch. Each season, the brand grants financial support and the freedom to experiment with Swarovski crystals to select designers who exhibit "cutting edge talent and the ability to demonstrate exquisite craftsmanship with crystal." Together, they comprise the Swarovski Collective.
This time around, the brand is doing all of that and more. To celebrate its 15th anniversary, the Swarovski Collective has hand-picked 15 designers (both new to and veterans of the Collective) who show across New York, London, Milan, and Paris Fashion Weeks, to offer them yearlong support (as opposed to a single season) along with the chance to win the €25,000 Swarovski Collective Prize for Innovation (roughly $32,828).
With New York Fashion Week kicking off tomorrow, we got an exclusive look at how four of the five chosen New York designers manipulated, integrated, encrusted, and overall bling-ed out their spring/summer 2015 designs with Swarovski crystals, complete with sketches and close-up shots.
Misha Nonoo of Nonoo (above): "We have a lot of exciting news in store for the spring 2015 collection. I am most excited to see the integration of fashion and art come to life on the runway. Also, we 3D-printed pins with Swarovski crystals. This is the first time we have experimented with 3D printing, which has been an eye-opening experience. Our use of Swarovski crystal helps enhance the collection by highlighting the attention to the subtle distinguishable details in a clean and modern way."
Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters of Creatures of the Wind: "Crystals are the perfect material for this concept—from a distance, it's an illusion of color, soft line, and silhouette, but upon closer inspection, these become clearly defined, made up of thousands of individual components. It's actually difficult to not develop too many ideas with Swarovski! The constant addition of new materials, color, and shape makes it easy to be newly inspired each season. We are also a narrative-driven collection, so every new story demands new explorations in every way, including development with Swarovski."
Wes Gordon: "Choosing the crystals to incorporate into my collection is one of the most exciting parts of partnering with Swarovski. The process starts with a review of all the new product offerings and it's a bit like a visit to Willy Wonka's factory. Each season, I work with new and different crystal shapes, sizes, and colors, thus already ensuring fresh and new applications. Each crystal has its own story and, if you listen closely enough, it will tell you how it wants to be used."
Prabal Gurung: "Swarovski has indeed been a huge support; spring 2015 will mark our eighth season working with them. We always incorporate the crystals in a way that allows them to become more than just an embellishment, and use a variety of techniques to really bring our silhouettes and print designs to life. As our designs evolve and develop every season so does our use of crystal, always maintaining an element of innovation. We always incorporate crystals into the prints and patterns of our designs in a way that echoes the lines and colors featured. The multidimensional crystals give our designs a movement and vitality that is paramount to the forward thinking aesthetic of our collections."
The designers who have formed the Swarovski Collective for their spring/summer 2015 and fall/winter 2015 collections include: Nonoo, Creatures of the Wind, Wes Gordon, Prabal Gurung (all featured above), and Rodarte for New York; Marques Almeida, Huishan Zhang, Peter Pilotto, Ashley Williams, and Mary Katrantzou for London; Iris Van Herpen, Damir Doma, Jay Ahr, Masha Ma, and Christian Wijants for Paris.