In 1956, Monsieur Dior and Manfred Swarovski – the grandson of Swarovski’s founder – changed the face of fashion with the creation of the groundbreaking iridescent crystal. Inspired by the phenomena of the Northern Lights, they called the magical, rainbow-like stone the Aurora Borealis. It is now considered a key moment in the development of Dior’s New Look, a legendary, revolutionary moment in the modern development of fashion couture.
Thirty-two students from Central Saint Martins’ BA Jewelry and Design course created a jewelry concept that heroes the Aurora Borealis stone. Ten shortlisted students had their final works exhibited at a showcase event and cocktail reception at London’s V&A, hosted by Swarovski. Guests previewed the works before viewing the museum’s star exhibition, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, which is supported by Swarovski and provided inspiration for the students’ project.
The shortlisted candidates were chosen by a panel of industry experts, including Executive Vice President of Operations at Swarovski Kate Filmer-Wilson, CSM Course Leader Giles Last, V&A Programme Manager Leanne Manfredi, Jewelry Designer Shaun Leane, style editor Alice Edwards and jewelry expert Maria Doulton. The panel also named the winner on the night as Piran Caseley for ‘Scent’, a dramatic neckpiece in acrylic and Aurora Borealis crystals that is a visual representation of perfume – an essential element of Dior’s concept of couture.
Giles Last commented: “This year, the opportunity for students to combine Swarovski product with their responses to the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition has been a wonderful, insightful and exciting experience for the whole group. It is an extraordinary start to their careers as designers.”
Swarovski and Dior share a 70-year history of creative collaboration. As the world's leading crystal manufacturer, Swarovski has collaborated with each of Dior’s creative directors: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri, who was awarded the Swarovski Award for Positive Change at the Fashion Awards in 2017.
Swarovski has a long-standing relationship with Central Saint Martins, whilst the Swarovski Foundation has funded scholarships for a range of CSM students since 2014. The CSM Jewelry Design project showcases Swarovski’s dedication to the continued innovation of crystal, as well as its ongoing ability to inspire the design talent of tomorrow.
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London until September 1, 2019.