Global jewellery house Swarovski has partner with the V&A to stage an exclusive Christian Dior showcase.
The exhibition continues Swarovski’s 70-year collaboration with the house of Dior and marks the latest partnership with the V&A following the blockbuster Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty show in 2015.
Titled, ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’, this new exhibition will celebrate one of the most influential houses of haute couture.
For over 120 years, Swarovski has been an incubator for fashion creativity and craft. The founding of the company in 1895 also coincided with the birth of haute couture. Working with fashion’s earliest stars in Paris, the company has gone on to provide creative inspiration and glamour to many of the 20th and 21st century’s most iconic talents, among them, Christian Dior.
The histories of Swarovski and Christian Dior have been intertwined since the launch of the designer’s revolutionary New Look in 1947. The New Look blazed a trail of more accessible, yet extremely refined fashion creations, seamlessly fusing fashion and jewelry with the use of Swarovski crystals. An abundance of embellishment – from limpid, drop shaped stones set like antique diamonds to lush clusters of vibrantly coloured beads – is visible in designs of the period.
In 1956, Manfred Swarovski, grandson of the founder, began to work personally with Christian Dior, to produce a special Aurora Borealis crystal stone to embody Dior’s now well-recognized vision. The encounter between these two visionaries, both pursuing innovation and perfection, led to striking results: the creation of an extraordinary new crystal effect, which gave crystals a dramatic iridescent sheen echoing the beauty of the Northern Lights. The new effect enjoyed incredible success, and the stone became a fashion phenomenon. Its appeal lay not only in the theatrical nature of the crystal effect but also in the versatile way in which it complimented colours and textures by picking up individual tones in fabrics. Aurora Borealis gave Dior the opportunity to scatter crystal on jewellery and then use the effect for embroideries, down the sides of dresses and sleeves, and on the trains of evening gowns.
The success story of Swarovski’s celebrated Aurora Borealis stone is today still one of the ultimate illustrations of the company’s symbiotic ties to fashion. Over the course of its 70-year collaboration with Dior, Swarovski has provided millions of crystal stones, and has worked with all seven of its artistic directors: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. Swarovski crystals and Aurora Borealis allowed them to create hundreds of renowned crystal looks and accessories. Each designer drafted their own vision of Dior by selecting and using Swarovski cuts, colors, and effects in a whole range of different ways, in the process pushing the limits of the craftsmen and women in the house’s Parisian ateliers.
Swarovski is proud that so many of these memorable garments and accessories are now included in this brand new exhibition, illustrating the unique bond and shared history between two historic companies.
Nadja Swarovski, member of the jewellery brand’s executive board, shares: “We are delighted to support the V&A’s staging of this spectacular Dior exhibition, following our support for the shows in Paris and Denver, Colorado. The histories of Swarovski and Dior have been intertwined since the 1950s, when my grandfather worked alongside Monsieur Dior himself to develop the Aurora Borealis crystal. It is wonderful to honor the incredible heritage of the house of Dior and to celebrate its enduring influence, which is beautifully captured in this breathtaking show.”
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, which will run from February 2 until July 14, 2019 and includes over 500 objects, of which 101 items feature Swarovski Crystal.
Swarovski’s partnership with the V&A forms part of its program of supporting major cultural institutions.