26 — know your legends How Nadja Swarovski took the lit­tle-known cou­ture prove­nance of her crys­tal em­pire and gave it edge

Nadja Swarovski has taken the lesser-known cou­ture prove­nance of her fam­ily’s crys­tal em­pire and spun it into a mil­len­nial case study

#Legend - - SPY CAM -

THERE’S A STRONG like­li­hood that any book con­tain­ing an in­tro­duc­tion by re­cently de­ceased haute cou­ture de­signer Hu­bert de Givenchy could only re­volve around one of three icons: Au­drey Hep­burn, Jac­que­line Kennedy Onas­sis or Brigitte Bar­dot. His skeins helped cre­ate the style pro­file of each. En­light­en­ing, then, that Givenchy’s words ap­pear in a new Condé Nast ti­tle Bril­liant: The Story of Atelier Swarovski, ded­i­cated to crys­tal queen Nadja Swarovski on the 10th an­niver­sary of the busi­ness she set up to more fully lever­age the brand’s al­ready close re­la­ton­ships with fash­ion houses. Givenchy, Chanel, and even Charles Fred­er­ick Worth in fin de siè­cle- era Paris have all worked with the Wat­tens, Aus­tria-based man­u­fac­ture.

Nadja Swarovski’s suc­cess has been noth­ing short of strato­spheric. She took the tack­i­est, kitschi­est ducks, swans and pa­per­weights and repo­si­tioned Swarovski on the in­ter­na­tional cul­tural axis with a whole new edge. She al­lied with Is­abella Blow and then-un­known de­signer Lee Alexan­der McQueen, spon­sor­ing young fash­ion de­signer con­tests long be­fore H&M or Louis Vuit­ton woke up to such mil­len­nial val­ues. And Givenchy isn’t the only con­trib­u­tor in Bril­liant. Writer and vis­ual artist Dou­glas Cou­p­land, de­signer Karl Lagerfeld and Whitechapel Gallery di­rec­tor Iwona Blazwick also weigh in on her global reach.

Nadja’s smarts, savvy and scen­ester-ness have made her the nat­u­ral go-to col­lab­o­ra­tor for any and all lux­ury en­ti­ties as a re­sult, be it multi­na­tion­als or the in­de­pen­dents such as Lorenz Bäumer, the for­mer Chanel jew­ellery de­signer who cre­ates be­spoke chrono­graphs for her with pic­tures of her chil­dren on the faces– and who she knew be­fore the rest of us ever did. That’s the other no less re­mark­able part; she’s be­strid­den the world in high-key crys­talline style while also rais­ing three chil­dren.

“It’s the stuff of dreams,” writes Givenchy. He, and she, would cer­tainly know.

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