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Swarovski’s Latest Designer Sparkle

LOS ANGELES — Swarovski crystals on a tiara might be a no-brainer — but on a pink rubber swimming cap? <br><br>Some of the world’s avant-garde designers — including Lorenz Baumer, Boudicca and Gurmit — were asked by...

LOS ANGELES — Swarovski crystals on a tiara might be a no-brainer — but on a pink rubber swimming cap?

Some of the world’s avant-garde designers — including Lorenz Baumer, Boudicca and Gurmit — were asked by Swarovski to take the sparkling stones and find a new way of using them, be that as a bridal coat, bejeweled sash or oversized charm bracelet draped across the body.

The result is Runway Rocks, a catwalk event that bowed at the Avalon nightclub in Hollywood last week after a successful showing in London. It will move on to New York in May and then a still-to-be-determined Asian city.

The brainchild of Nadja Swarovski, the high-profile, fifth-generation member of the family and the company’s London-based vice president of international communications, Runway Rocks is essentially as much a tribute to the allure of crystals as to the designers who use them.

“This project is meant to celebrate fashion jewelry design,” said Swarovski at the event here, which was attended by celebs Jane Seymour, Lisa Marie and Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, along with Swarovski pals Tarina Tarantino and Jeremy Scott.

“With this, jewelry rather than couture is the star,” added Swarovski. “We wanted to shine the spotlight on the unsung hero of the catwalk.”

She achieved her goal. Eighteen international designers — including Slim Barrett, Hamish Morrow and J. Maskrey — put their stamp on the Swarovski name. Offerings included everything from Naomi Filmer’s neon pink silicone rubber cap, cuff and ring studded with translucent stones to Studio Job’s huge multicolored charms laced onto a thick chain and J. Maskrey’s three-dimensional rainbow-colored star bag.

The pieces have been selected to be part of an upcoming exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.

The following day, Swarovski presided over the Costume Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she talked about the evolving relationship between the 100-plus-year-old company and fashion — and, increasingly, Hollywood: Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel and Christian Dior all wore and used the stones, and Swarovski crystals covered the gown that Marilyn Monroe wore when she famously sang “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kennedy. More recently, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston and Tina Turner have all worn Swarovski crystals in some capacity.

This story first appeared in the February 4, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Crystals add beauty and glamour to people’s lives,” said Swarovski.