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Swarovski Presents Haute Couture Exhibit in Paris

The Swarovski Crystal Business, known for their work with gorgeous crystal jewellery and animal figurines, facilitated a historic haute couture exhibition showcasing around 100 gowns, considered to be some of the Musée Galliera’s most beautiful vintage pieces. The exhibition is set to run until July 6th at Hotel de Ville, and includes sketches, photographs and accessories, in addition to the dresses themselves.

19th Century Ingenuity

Daniel Swarovski, founder of the famous crystal company, approached Charles Frederick Worth in the late 19th century. The English Worth was considered to be the creator of high fashion, and Swarovski was interested in a collaboration. And thus, a fashion dynasty was born.

Swarovski also worked with other high profile fashion houses in his career, notably Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. The curator of Musée Galliera, Olivier Saillard, praised the Swarovski brand, noting that “It has been involved with haute couture for over a century, spanning crazes, styles and famous designers who all assiduously sought out crystal for formal pieces and embroidery”.

The French Connection

The French term “haute couture” literally translates to “elegant sewing”, and refers to the creation of custom-made, high-fashion garments for women. In order to qualify as an haute couture design house, one has to be registered with the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture in Paris, part of the French Department of Industry. Furthermore, prospective designers also have to employ 15 or more people, showcase collections twice a year, and create collections that contain a minimum of 35 pieces of day wear and evening wear.

Portrait of Fashion

The exhibition is arranged chronologically, and includes creations from designers such as Balenciaga, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Madeleine Vionnet. The oldest dress in the collection is a green velvet gown, designed in 1895 by the aforementioned Charles Frederick Worth, for the Countess Ellaine Greyffhule. Other notable designs include a silk and satin Dior gown from 1952, with pearl and crystal embroidery, as well as a long black tiered Lanvin gown from 1928, with a crystal bird down one side.

Saillard reiterated his admiration for the exhibit’s supporting brand, stating that “Swarovski has amply contributed to the magic that is definitively, sublimely expressed by this exclusively French industry since the 19th Century”. The CEO of Swarovski, the great, great granddaughter of Daniel, echoed his enthusiasm, emphasizing that “We hope to continue our collaborations with fashion’s creative visionaries for the next hundred years”.

Grace Matthews is a London-based fashion blogger who believes in the power of well-cut designer suits to get the job done.

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