Swarovski’s output is as diverse as it is extensive, from collaborating with contemporary fashion labels like Sadie Williams and Faustine Steinmetz to tapping make-up artists such as the ingenious Isamaya Ffrench, the sparkling house has lent its glitz appeal to a host of unique and exciting projects – the new Beauty and the Beast, starring ex-Wonderland cover girl Emma Watson, amongst them – but its attention currently is on the stage at London’s Sadler’s Wells.
Debuted last night with a sold out run until Saturday, here nearly 350,000 Swarovski crystals are making quite the statement, adorning the costumes for bad boy ballerina, Sergei Polunin’s new piece, Narcissus & Echo (part of the Ukrainian dancer’s wider choreography undertaking, Project Polunin). “I’m happy to have Swarovski crystals for the ballet I’m creating,” he notes, “they help to conjure up an atmosphere of magic and fairy tales. The dancer’s feel incredible wearing them and it definitely adds to their performance.”
The costumes, a dazzling nude bodysuit that drips with glitter, enveloping female lead Natalia Osipova, and a purple and gold sock and underpant situation for Polunin (the rest of the female cast likewise sport embellished looks), are the work of costume designer and magazine stylist, Brett Alan Nelson. “Sergei and Natalia are both such captivating performers,” he explains, “I really wanted each of these characters to feel magical and somewhat god-like, and that would not have been able to happen without each and every one of these crystals.” Catching last night’s opening act, we can’t help but concur. “A galaxy without stars would be complete darkness,” he continues, “a costume without Swarovski crystals has no magic.”