Last night, New York’s fashion glitterati gathered on the roof of the Gramercy Park Hotel to fete the CFDA Swarovski Award Nominees for Emerging Talent. But they weren’t the only things glittering: Nine objets d’arts encrusted with countless Swarovski crystals were on display.
Designed by nominees Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne (of Public School), Rosie Assoulin and Ryan Roche, Eva Zuckerman (of Eva Fehren), Paul Andrew,Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel (of Mansur Gavriel), Alex Orley, Matthew Orley and Samantha Orley (of Orley), Ariel and Shimon Ovadia (of Ovadia & Sons), and Shayne Oliver (of Hood by Air), the items were being auctioned off to raise funds for Free Arts NYC and each one perfectly encapsulated the aesthetic of its creator. Hood by Air made a Swarovski-crystal studded crumpled traffic cone, Mansur Gavriel a gem-encrusted pottery set, and Public School a tricked-out speaker.
For Orley, which created a Backgammon board, it all leads back to family (as with everything they do). “It was the first thing that we thought of,” says Alex Orley. “When we’re all together, we play Backgammon, sometimes even without realizing it. We just start. It’s something we’ve always done.”
Hood By Air’s sparkling traffic cone. Photo: Swarovski
Native New Yorker Eva Zuckerman (of Eva Fehren), who split a cinderblock and then covered its insides with black Swarovski crystals, used her hometown as a jumping off point. “I’ve always been very inspired by industrial materials and architectural materials,” she says. “I grew up in New York, so that’s my idea of beauty. I love the idea of the cinderblock as the root of architectural innovation, the beginning of an idea.” Cracking a cinderblock is a lot harder than you might think. “A lot of cinderblocks were harmed in the making if this piece,” she jokes. But in the end, an unlikely method proved best: “Karate chop.”
It’s clear that New York’s emerging talents consider Swarovski much more than just a provider of expertly cut crystals, however. “It’s not easy being a young designer,” says Zuckerman. “We need all the help we can get—any company that is supporting us is important.”
The inside of Eva Zuckerman’s cracked cinder block. Photo: Swarovski
According to Orley, to whom Swarovski donated 4000 crystals for his Vogue Fashion Fund look, that support goes beyond just the financial. “It’s more than just a check,” he says. “They also help designers realize what they’re trying to do aesthetically.”
All of the items displayed last night are currently up for auction on Paddle8. They’re certainly worth a perusal, if not a bid (hey, it’s for a good cause!). But you might have some stiff competition: “I’m going to bid [on the backgammon set] because I really want it!” says Orley.
Related: Happy 120th Swarovski!!