The things designers do with crystals is pretty incredible. Swarovski, the 160-year-old Austrian family-run company, spotlights their talents each season with Atelier Swarovski, a jewelry collection comprised of pieces created by some of the world's most exciting designers in fashion, costumes, and architecture.
For Spring 2011, Swarovski partnered with Henri Bendel to host the New York accessories store's window shop, featuring pieces from the likes of Christopher Kane, costume designer Michael Kaplan, and Fashionista favorite Prabal Gurung. Some, like Gurung's, are brand new, while others, like Kane's, have been around for several seasons. (The London-based designer's crystal mesh necklaces are just so popular that Swarovski has to keep bringing them back.)
We'd seen some of the collection during a presentation last fall in Paris, but there were some new additions to the mix, including pieces designed by architects Hariri & Hariri. The sisters, who have envisioned such luxe buildings as the Sagaponac Dream House, first worked with Swarovski on a chandelier in 2007. This time around, they tried their hand at jewelry, with beautiful results. In fact, they have formed a new crystal--something produced at the Swarovski factory specifically for the collection.
"We wanted to see if we could push forward the idea of the crystal as a material," Gisue Hariri told us at yesterday's reception. "There were challenges, of course--what we came up with was very large, very heavy. But Swarovski worked with us to make it right, and the turnaround was so quick."
The results are chunky, futuristic-looking necklaces, earrings, and rings that Hariri says took as much patience in constructing as a home.
"I think the challenges were the same. Honestly, it took the same amount of time to design a piece of jewelry and get it out as it would a building," she said. "Every design works with human beings, the human body, human emotions. I knew what would be comfortable, interesting, to wear."
Another Swarovski alum, Mark Fast, was also showing off his spring pieces (the jeweled cuffs are particularly stunning). But he also teamed up with Swarovski for his Spring 2011 ready wear collection. "The repetitiveness of using a hundred stones on just a dress is a dream because it's a lot like the repetition of a knit," he said of working with the crystals. "The ones I'm using for this jewelry collection are more raw, archaic. There's just so much to work with."
You can find Atelier Swarovski pieces at Henri Bendel. For more stockists, visit AtelierSwarovski.com.