CRYSTAL CLEAR: All eyes were on Nadja Swarovski on Wednesday evening as she was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters for her ongoing support of French culture and fashion in a ceremony at the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée in Paris.
Catherine Pégard, president of the Château de Versailles, presented her with the distinction, highlighting the longstanding relationship between the famous monument and the Austrian crystal goods and precision optical equipment giant, on whose executive committee Swarovski sits.
“Since the installation of the crystal chandelier in the King’s Chamber, in 1980, the technical know-how and generosity of your family firm has accompanied us,” said Pégard.
In 2013, Swarovski developed a crystal LED candle to be used in the royal apartments at Versailles to recreate the effect of 18th century lighting. The same year, the firm sponsored the first permanent contemporary artwork in the palace’s history: the Gabriel Chandelier — designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec — which hangs in the Gabriel staircase in the public entrance to the site.
“Most of our visitors today think the chandelier has always been there,” Pégard continued. “This is the bond that unites us and illustrates your commitment to creativity and knowledge transmission, whether through your company, the actions of the Swarovski Foundation, or the experience you offer to and for all with your crystal.”
Pégard reminded guests that Swarovski has been linked to the fashion industry since Jeanne Paquin embroidered its crystals onto a gown for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. “It was the beginning of a long history,” she said. “You belong to fashion history.”
Nadja Swarovski, the great-great-granddaughter of the company’s founder Daniel Swarovski, is widely credited with helping to transform the family firm into an international powerhouse and nurturing its ties to the design and fashion industries.
The constellation of designers and brands that have collaborated with the crystal house include Karl Lagerfeld, Christopher Kane, Victoria’s Secret and the late Zaha Hadid.
“More than 120 years ago, my great-great-grandfather Daniel came to Paris as an ambitious young entrepreneur to show his polished crystals to your jewelers and your fashion designers,” Swarovski said in accepting the honor.
“The fact that these crystals were so well received led to the foundation for today’s success for the Swarovski enterprise. Our ties with haute couture are legend, and ongoing, as my great-great-grandfather worked with creative visionaries back then such as Charles [Frederick] Worth. My grandfather Manfred collaborated with Coco Chanel, Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli, just to name a few. We’re so happy to continue our support of emerging French talent,” she added.
Swarovski was surrounded for the occasion by her father Helmut, her husband Rupert Adams and their daughter Jasmine, as well as guests including Karlie Kloss and Carine Roitfeld. “I’m happy to accept this distinction, not just as a nod to the past, but also as an inspiration for future opportunities,” she concluded.