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July 28 2014

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Celebrating The Crystal Vision In Paris

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The weather outside was frightful, but it would take more than six inches of snow to intimidate the revelers who packed into the Salon Anglais of the Four Seasons George V in Paris to fête the tenth anniversary of Swarovski Crystal Palace, the lighting and design arm of Swarovski’s multifaceted empire, and the publication of its anniversary tome, The Art of Light and Crystal. For their debut in the City of Light, an array of one-off Crystal Palace pieces—such as Light Sock by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the best-selling Blossom by Tord Boontje, and the giant, faceted Rock Crystal by Hariri and Hariri—were showcased in a tent in the hotel’s courtyard, where they will stay until mid-January. Meanwhile, the lobby greets visitors with sheets of crystal panels borrowed from the Oscar curtain and a scaled-down version of the Yves Béhar chandelier created for New York’s JFK airport.

The party was the culmination of a design steeplechase for Nadja Swarovski, who, having just come from the art and design fairs in Miami, yesterday presented the first Swarovski fragrance (on counters in March). No sooner was this temporary show mounted than she began polishing new projects. “This was my childhood dream,” she said as she surveyed the scene, dressed in a black Dior knit dress with a Holly Fulton necklace and Matthew Williamson cuff. “I grew up making bracelets out of pink crystal chandelier components. And there’s still so much to do—the possibilities are endless and we’ve only scratched the surface.” What might that mean? Swarovski allowed that more design-driven products are in the works, “but in an unexpected way.” Yes, she’ll still take emerging designers from runway to jewelry for Atelier Swarovski, but there may be new terrain yet to explore both with proven talents (Galliano is on her wish list) and in new fields (a music connection, perhaps?).

The crowd was chic, but these were not your usual suspects. Alongside perennial fashion fixtures such as stylist Catherine Baba and the model/athlete Aimee Mullins (left), jewelry designer Betony Vernon, and designer Nicolas Andreas Taralis were deliberately downtown characters, from a Midwestern dancer at the Opéra Garnier (in a crystal-laden Viktor & Rolf smoking jacket) to a Cossack in Nina Ricci heels and the rising indie music act known as Brigitte. And by day, the crystal-gloved DJ turned out to be none other than accessories designer Erik Halley (right, with Swarovski).

Photos: Olivier Borde

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