Swarovski has been adding dazzle to film and entertainment for over a century, including lighting up dance of all kinds from ballet to burlesque to ballroom. Think Paris’s Opéra Garnier and the English National Ballet; Broadway’s Motown The Musical and Dita Von Teese’s memorable burlesque shows. But the crystal maison also contributes to the competitive world of dancesport, dance’s competitive arena.
Dancesport costumes are required to fulfill one particular function above all others: the ability to accentuate the movement of the body. This is where Swarovski crystals come into their own: Far more than mere embellishment, crystal throws off myriad shards of light that emphasize a dancer’s every move, tracking motion and lighting up the stage. As such, crystal and dance make for a symbiotic partnership that’s perfectly reflected in Swarovski’s collaborative relationship with four ateliers, all renowned in dancesport: Chrisanne, Sensu, FB International Design Studio, and Doré Designs. Each was asked to demonstrate their astonishing skills by creating a showpiece costume that showcases Swarovski’s latest colors and effects, using not just traditional Flat Backs and Sew-on Stones, but Fine Rocks and Fine Mesh, too.
As a former dancer, Chrisanne’s Head of Design Jamy Arafah understands all too well that while the body moves quickly between an infinite number of positions, the costume must contend with the physical stresses and strains while at the same time looking perfect. Arafah’s signature gown is a romantic masterpiece of pleating, drape and embellishment. Crystallized flowers snake up the figure-hugging body giving sinuous emphasis, while a riot of ruffles kicks out below, creating a dynamic designed to lift an already spellbinding performance to a winning level.
Professional dancer Ina Jeliazkova and Lubo Danailov, a Parsons graduate who has worked for Hermès, Bottega Veneta and Prada, is the partnership behind Sensu, one of the most sophisticated dancewear brands in the industry. Inspired by Iceland, the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, its signature piece is a slinky asymmetric gown adorned with hot and cold tones that lick and curl up the body to breathtaking effect. It’s the type of creation that Swarovski crystals’ unique brilliance was made for.
Sewing every garment by hand, Francesco Breccolini of FB International Design Studio demonstrates consummate skill and couture-level artistry. His signature dress reflects the crystal-clear blue waters of Sardinia, as waves of turquoise fabric wrap the body and crystals glint like sunlight on water—a shining example of ‘Made In Italy’ design.
Dawn Smart, CEO of Doré Designs, the world’s largest producer of custom-made ballroom dresses, showcases a spectacular, split-to-the-thigh pink dress. Embodying the romance and heady perfume of a flower garden, painstakingly hand-painted roses offset with crystals in sensual shades of Fuchsia, Crystal Rose Gold and Crystal Golden Shadow conjure passion.
Created to optimize expressive movement, each showpiece is a labor of love designed to shimmer under stage lights in a crescendo of fire and fantasy, capturing the very soul of dance.