There was a retro-futurist mood among the Swarovski Collective designers at Paris Fashion Week (February 28-March 8). When it wasn’t skirted with faux fur, Aalto’s pinstriped tailoring was patched with shimmering kitsch images of pin-ups and unearthly Lapland landscapes. Their mesmerizing haze came courtesy of Crystal Fabric Graphic, a special technique that the label’s Finnish founder Tuomas Merikoski used in order to enhance the fantasy feeling.
A more traditional use of crystals was seen on ruby red and emerald green embellished collars. Polo necks and square-toed patent boots completed the Sixties vibe. Wanda Nylon tipped its hat to the same era via a series of Black Panther-style berets—XL houndstooth, cowhide and glossy leather, plus the more traditional wool in sensational scarlet as well as black. It was a clear statement from Johanna Senyk with regard to the starting point for her Fall/Winter 2017 inspiration: diversity. The tailoring was of a more fluid and voluminous kind than that seen at Aalto. Mercurial silver, overstitched denim, and white-on-white gave the silhouette a feeling of space-age cool, while rainbow rib-knit and bright faux fur brought flashes of color. All-over crystal transfer pieces plus metallic bouclé interwoven with tiny crystals added a glitter-ball disco feel. And there were those square-toed ankle boots again, this time bedazzled with crystal zippers. Anne Sofie Madsen had her eye on the future of crystal as she experimented with new techniques. Crystal chains in clear and opalescent finishes were welded together then hand-stitched onto outsize macs, or used to make cascading chain earrings, bracelets and necklaces in collaboration with jeweler Vibe Harsloef. The effect was a brilliant mix of the mechanical and the flapper. Safety specs, tartan, ruffled silk, fur and quilted panel dresses underscored her signature geek chic blended with a sensuous femininity.
Together with the three Swarovski Collective designers, emerging talent Christelle Kocher also benefited from the crystal company’s support. Her Koché label’s FW17 collection saw more than 200,000 crystals incorporated into its trademark sports-formal in a brilliant effort to highlight cut. Colored stones were woven around sleek dresses and applied in stripes down velvet pants. Rugby shirts and tracksuits were transformed using luxury fabrics and finishes. Naturally, a legendary venue—the Folies Bergère—couldn’t help but inspire. This became apparent in the dramatic intensity of her crystallized patchwork embroidery, feather embellishments, and satin shoes studded with crystals.
Totting up at the end of a frantic week of runways, we made the crystal count nearly 600,000 in total—on 35 looks and 53 accessories over the four shows. Dazzling!
Images by Dan Lecca & Indigitalimages