While the enchanting sparkle of Swarovski had already served to embellish some of Christian Dior’s most iconic designs, notably his revolutionary New Look silhouette, it was in 1956 that this partnership reached new heights. Manfred Swarovski, the grandson of the founder, collaborated with Monsieur Dior himself to create the Aurora Borealis stone: with its unique reflective properties, the gem’s otherworldly shimmer brought unprecedented movement and color to the designer’s exquisite couture creations. Named after the breathtaking polar phenomenon of the Northern Lights, the innovation and precision of the crystal perfectly reflected Dior’s ambitions to channel his lifelong passion for nature through the medium of fashion.
While the Aurora Borealis crystal—or the AB, as it came to be known—marked a bold new step in the relationship between the two houses, it was only the beginning of this rich creative partnership. The Swarovski AB has adorned the garments produced by Dior’s illustrious roster of artistic directors ever since: from the injection of youthful energy brought to the house by Monsieur Dior’s protégée Yves Saint Laurent, to the bold, operatic creations of John Galliano, to the charming femininity of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s designs in the present day.
And even today, the histories of Swarovski and Dior continue to be intertwined. Most recently, Swarovski has been proud to support a series of groundbreaking exhibitions on the history of the brand in Paris, Denver and London. In 2019, it was announced that Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams had become the most visited fashion exhibition in the history of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. While Dior may have been a designer of dreams, it was Swarovski’s extraordinary technical innovations—and, of course, the irresistible shimmer of its meticulously crafted gems—that has helped shape those dreams into reality across seven decades.