Crystallising a Dream

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  • Employee picnic in Wattens, 1913

  • Daniel Swarovski, ca. 1925

  • Daniel Swarovski and his machine, 1892

  • Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2004

  • Gown by Charles Frederick Worth, 1910

  • Alexis Mabille, Fall/Winter 2009

  • Alexis Mabille Spring/Summer 2014

  • JJ Valaya

  • Lanvin evening gown embroidered with circles of multicolored Swarovski crystals, 1969

  • ArtÇÖOrafo for Swarovski Gemstones

  • Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, 1963

  • Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961

  • Marylin Monroe in Some like it Hot, 1959

  • Lily James as Cinderella, 2014

  • Swarovski crystal Oskar R « Curtain, made with over 100,000 crystals designed by David Rockwell, 2010 Courtesy of AMPAS

  • Ball by Tom Dixon for Swarovski, 2002

  • Lustre Gabriel by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Swarovski, Versailles, 2013

  • Parhelia by Asif Khan for Swarovski Crystal Palace, 2012

  • Cascade by Vincent Van Duysen for Swarovski Crystal Palace, 2003

  • Crystal Dome by Andreü Heller at Swarovski Crystal Worlds, 1995

  • Iris by Fredrikson Stallard for Swarovski

  • Perspectives by John Pawson for Swarovski, Palladio's Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, 2013

  • Luminaire by Rem Koolhaus and OMA for Swarovski at the Venice Biennale, 2014

  • Christian Dior jewelry made with Aurora Borealis crystal, 1960

  • Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2009

  • Ziad Antoun

  • Mary Katrantzou, Spring/Summer 2014

The story begins in October 1895 when Daniel Swarovski and Franz Weis arrived in the village of Wattens in Austria. They had travelled for two days, from their home in Bohemia, now the Czech Republic, and this fact was astonishing to the local residents. What baffled them even more was their decision to rent a clothing factory that had been abandoned, and use it to cut crystal stones. This decision led to the formation of a company that fulfilled Daniel’s vision of creating ‘a diamond for everyone’. 120 years and five generations later, Swarovski has grown to employ 30,000 people with stores in 170 countries and annual revenue of nearly $3.3billion, more than two-thirds of which come from the crystals. These crystals have enamoured audiences and become essential elements in the world of film, design, fashion and performance. Sharon Carvalho tracks the century old journey

It was a little after founding the company that Daniel revolutionised the jewellery industry. He invented a machine that would cut crystal more precisely than was possible by hand. As the son of a glasscutter and a skilled craftsman himself, Daniel was able to create and patent a machine that would facilitate the production of crystal glass. Understanding that they were the outsiders, the Swarovski’s and the Weis’s made it their mission to get to know their employees and neighbours. They regularly organised leisure activities such as picnics to get to know the townsfolk better.

From Chanel and Valentino to Versace and Elie Saab, Swarovski crystals have embellished runways for decades.

Classic films such as Wizard of Oz, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Black Swan and many more shimmered with their iridescent glow.

Collaborations with architects and designers such as Zaha Hadid, Hella Jongerius and Yves Behar have transformed the way crystals are used and perceived.

The 120 years have been carefully curated and compiled to put together a book ‘Swarovski: A History of Collaborations in Fashion, Jewelry, Performance and Design’, which is available at Harvey Nichols-Dubai. Along with this book, an in-store exhibition has been put together to display some of the most iconic pieces from Swarovski history. Shoppers can view this journey till the December 23rd.

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