'Hot' was very much the buzz word word for last night's Swarovski 'Runway Rocks', held at the Phillips de Pury gallery in Victoria (most recently the frenzied scene of that Dover Street Market Super-Sale), as dodgy air-con sent temperatures soaring in the packed show and ice was hastily added to every drink.
Glassy-eyed and shiny-faced as we were by the time the show began, the crystal-strewn offerings were fair distraction from the adverse weather conditions. Swarovski's intention in staging these shows is to showcase both the variety of their products, and the constant innovation in their application by a wide range of designers - and last night it worked. Fashion designers, jewellers and even architects came together under the Swarovski banner to reinterpret the company's wares in pieces that blurred the line between jewellery, fashion and art installation (of sorts).
By and large, the traditional Swarovski brilliant-cut white crystal was in scant supply - as trimming to Erickson Beamon and Mr Peal's respective showgirl corsets, perhaps, or strapped over Christopher Kane's flesh lace minidress - leaving it to King of Bling Julien Macdonald to give it a typically dazzling workout in a crystal mesh flapper dress. Elsewhere, creations were somewhat more esoteric: jeweller Shaun Leane silver-plated cherry-blossom twigs and encrusted them with crystal flowers; Hussein Chalayan's 'Readings' laser dress uses faceted crystals to refract LED beams; and Marios Schwab's creation combined the attenuated silhouette of his 2008 winter collection with spring's antomical harnessing, trussing a model in amethyst pearls.
Sending glittering models spinning like cabochons in a jewel-box, the rotating platforms set into the runway underlined the fact that this show was of course far removed from fashion. 'Runway Rocks' was a spectacle, just as much about showcasing Swarovski's wares as those revolving lead-crystal swans in Swarovski boutiques (but, of course, far far chicer). What is interesting about this show, and the accompanying exhibition, is how through close collaboration with generations of new fashion talent, the once-staid brand has managed to cleverly reposition itself at the very cutting edge of fashion.
Swarovski's 'Runway Rocks' exhibition, part of Coutts London Jewellery Week, opens to the public on 12 June 2008 at Phillips de Pury Gallery, SW1