The global merry-go-round of Fashion Weeks was set spinning in New York, kicking off with Swarovski Collective members Tome, Rosie Assoulin and Creatures of the Wind. The latter was first to show, on February 11, sending a collection down its AW17 runway that sent a strong message of community and authenticity—in spite of the seductive Seventies’ psychedelia rocks Fifties’ cocktail party vibe. Political placarding was even louder the next day at Tome, where Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin were inspired by the 80s artist-activist Guerilla Girls to address notions of equality and diversity. Monkey fur was contrasted with patent leather and bold check. While models came plus-size and age-plus: hour-glass curves were draped and wide-leg pants decorated with geometric crystals. Assoulin—winner of the 2016 Swarovski Collective Award and the 2015 CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear—followed on February 13. The voluminous silhouettes had her signature surreal touches, this time referencing interior furnishings, such as wooden heels hand-turned to look like table legs, a jacket with its back buttoned like an upholstered chair, and a series of fabrics that you might find in an upholsterer’s swatch book. These three collections alone saw the crystal count add up to over a million! Other designers supported by Swarovski at New York Fashion Week included: Adeam, Alexander Wang, Brandon Maxwell, Brock Collection, Cinq à Sept, Gabriela Hearst, Jeremy Scott, Sachin & Babi, Sally La Pointe and Sandy Liang – with a special mention for Jason Wu, who complemented his fashion for grown-ups with the forthcoming Atelier Swarovski by Jason Wu ‘Mosaic’ jewelry collection.
London was next up, with Swarovski Collective members Emilia Wickstead, Faustine Steinmetz and Sadie Williams taking the crystallized baton. British Fashion Council NEWGEN designer Williams showed first at London Fashion Week’s new home, the BFC Presentation Space at Store Studios, 180 Strand, on February 17. Her trademark tomboy was full of colorful attitude, teaming sporty silhouettes and Converse high tops with shimmering fabrics and patches of geometry. Wickstead and Steinmetz lit up day three of London Fashion Week on February 18. The first with wonderfully romantic pieces inspired by Russian theatrical costume—all puffs and gauzy crystal-dusted layers. Plus, that sensational silver gown: it slayed the front row. The other with a white cube installation at Tate Modern, showcasing dazzling ingenuity and technical wizardry with all things denim. Steinmetz’s ongoing commitment to sustainable design reiterated many of the ethical themes evident in New York. Fortie Label, A.V Robertson and Roberta Einer were the emerging talents supported by Swarovski in London, while long-term Swarovski collaborators—Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou and Peter Pilotto—were partners, once again. An extra treat for London Fashion Week ticket holders was the Atelier SwarovskiAW17 showcase at the BFC Presentation Space. Jewelry and accessories collections on display included Jason Wu’s ‘Mosaic’ unveiled on the runway during his NYFW show, as well as collaborations with Christopher Kane, Iris Apfel and Paul Andrew.
Vivetta and Arthur Arbesser brought full-spectrum sparkle to Milan Fashion Week. Vivetta Ponti’s 1920’s circus-inspired show saw a colorful cast of vintage Big Top motifs blaze down the runway on February 23. Extravagantly embellished looks included crystals woven into vibrant three-dimensional pierrots, acrobats, harlequins, fortune tellers, big cats, dancing horses, folk flowers and twinkling stars. However, it was a stunning pink-to-orange-to-red degradé crystal transfer pantsuit that made it to the top of the bill. Arbesser’s circus arrived a little later: 1987 to be precise. In a glorious Technicolor reworking of Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders’ cult black-and-white movie of that year) he brought the angel and flying trapeze artist aesthetic together with the stark mood of its location: pre-fall East Berlin: There was military suiting pinstriped with tiny crystals, metallic macs, blindingly bright Op-art and harlequin patterns and circus-style embroideries. All of which was shown inside a functioning army depot on February 26. Finally, it was Arbesser’s jewelry design debut that struck the brightest note, as oversize asymmetric crystal cuts from Fredrikson Stallard’s ‘Glaciarium’ collection were threaded onto hooped necklaces, or hung from ears, then offset with colored metal accents.
Next stop Paris!