Double Decades

Thursday, August 24, 2017

When you think of Swarovski, you think of crystals. This September, Atelier Swarovski, a more upscale segment of the Austrian brand, is launching its Mosaic collection with fashion designer Jason Wu.

Consisting of jewel-toned necklaces, bangles, earrings and rings, the 15-piece collection celebrates the 10-year anniversaries of both brands. “I took inspiration from asymmetrically cut crystals and thought about how they could be incorporated to the different shapes and colors in my [fall/winter 2017 women’s ready-to-wear] collection,” said Wu, a New Yorker who was born in Taiwan and raised in Vancouver.

Swarovski has been known for collaborating with creative talents since its start. It was founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski, who traveled to Paris each season to design with the early stars of haute couture, from Charles Frederick Worth to Jeanne Lanvin. A century later, his great-great-granddaughter Nadja Swarovski joined the family business and became the first female member of its executive board. Based in London, she serves as the head of corporate communications and design services. In 2007, Nadja launched Atelier Swarovski, which presents seasonal jewelry and accessories collaborations twice a year during New York, London and Paris fashion weeks in addition to its constantly evolving Core collection.

“Jason knows what he wants when he works with our crystals,” said Nadja. The process felt organic, as the duo previously teamed up to create a jewelry line, which launched in tandem with Wu’s spring/summer 2010 women’s ready-to-wear collection. Known for his feminine, modern aesthetic, Wu studied at Parsons School of Design and later started his label with money he saved from designing doll clothes for the line, Fashion Royalty, manufactured by Integrity Toys. In 2009, he was propelled into the public eye when Michelle Obama wore his white, one-shouldered chiffon gown to the Inauguration Ball. That moment was the ultimate turning point in Wu’s career.

Plenty has happened since then for the designer. He won the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear in 2010, was appointed artistic director of Hugo Boss womenswear in 2013, launched Grey Jason Wu—a more affordable sister line—in 2016 and has just launched his first fragrance. “Our vision has always been to create cutting-edge collections that allow designers from a range of disciplines to express their most radical ideas,” said Nadja.

Looking ahead, Wu said, “I want to be more thoughtful and strategic in all of my endeavors, but time stops for no one. I love to design, so in the next 10 years, that is what I will be looking forward to.” 


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