The Swarovski company started out in Wattens, Austria in 1895, when Daniel Swarovski invented a device for producing crystals. His invention revolutionized the crystal manufacturing industry, inspiring the world of design and fashion for many years to come.
Swarovski’s grew popular due to Daniel Swarovski’s relationships with the great designers of the 1800s, such as Charles Frederick Worth – considered as the founder of Haute Couture – who beaded Swarovski crystals on his bespoke ball gowns in Trompe L’Oeil effect, being worn by his exclusive customers, including Queen Victoria. This collaboration triggered an awareness of crystal amongst designers and celebrities.
During the 1920s, the interest in Swarovski crystals increased, in line with the jazz aesthetic of the times. Consequently, Swarovski supplied the most prominent designers such as Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet and Jean Patou.
By the middle of the twentieth century, Swarovski was being used by the hands of important designers including Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Cristobal Balenciaga, who were defining the fashion of their era.
In 1956, Swarovski came up with the Aurora Borealis, a crystal effect named after the Northern Lights. The crystal fascinated the legendary Christian Dior, who used it in his own divine masterpieces, many of which reside in the Swarovski archive.
In 1999 the Swarovski Collective was established, after Swarovski, now ran by Nadja Swarovski who joined her grandfather’s business, supplied Alexander McQueen with crystals for his 1999 Spring/Summer collection.
Since then the Collective helped around 150 designers from major fashion capitals, providing them with millions of crystals. The Swarovski Collective involved artists like Joseph Altuzarra, Rodarte, Alexander Wang, Hussein Chalayan, Anthony Vaccarello, Christopher Kane and Viktor & Rolf.
The Swarovski Collective is now a proud sponsor for the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the ANDAM program in France that introduced some of the most prominent emerging artists. It also shows its support to fashion students around the world offering scholarships and encouraging them to experiment with crystals.
Swarovski with its rich history, heritage and continuous support for the emerging artists has ensured its position as one of the most essential exclusive design ingredients.