Edita reports | In Conversation With Nadja Swarovski

In coversation with Nadja Swarovski

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From wedding gowns encrusted in blinding crystals to skulls with added bling by Alexander McQueen, Swarovski is the brand who made the world wonder: Are diamonds really a girl’s best friend? While a kiss may be grand, it won’t pay the rental on your humble flat. Diamonds won’t either, come to think of it. But swapping them for crystals would definitely give you enough leftover budget to prevent you from getting evicted.

Known to our grandparents as the poor man’s diamond or imitation jewellery, crystals have not had the easiest road to luxury. However, nowadays hearing the words “carefully embellished with thousands of Swarovski crystals” makes us think of lavishness, indulgence and not necessarily attainability.

Achieving such a shift in consumer thinking and behaviour is no straight-forward task. It seems to me that Nadja Swarovski has accomplished the seemingly impossible. This is why it has been a privilege to sit in one room with her, fashion journalism legend Colin McDowell and V&A Director Martin Roth.

Soft spoken, approachable and wonderfully business-minded, Nadja chatted about her life in the family business and the brand’s mission to make the world sparkle. In my view, Swarovski doesn’t necessarily do that by selling jewellery and keepsakes. I think the biggest sparkler the brand brings to the world is the platform it provides for young talent to shine via Swarovski’s numerous sponsorships and collaborations. Without Swarovski’s initiatives, a great number of fashion brands and artist names wouldn’t survive in an already saturated market; some wouldn’t even see the light of day in the first place.

Swarovski has also brought a plethora of high-end brands closer to the cash-strapped consumer by partnering with them on collections or limited edition pieces. Suddenly owning a piece by Viktor&Rolf or Alexander McQueen isn’t that cuckoo of a thought for those with tightened belts and the aforementioned rent bill looming over their heads.

Whatever our budgets are, most of us have a Swarovski-related memory, be it an impulse buy at the airport three minutes before the flight or a weightier, more thought-through purchase.

Mine is my father getting me an insanely sparkly Swarovski chocker for my 18th birthday. I chose it over one made of 14k (also known as “Russian“) rose gold. Sometimes I look back and kick myself for opting for the costume piece as opposed to the gold necklace the price of which keeps on rising. I guess at that moment I wasn’t looking for an investment. I just needed my world to sparkle.

Thank you once again to the V&A for having me.

Edita wears | The Backless Dress

Edita in Vintage dress, Fur coat, Schuh heels, Glitzy Secret bracelet and Swarovski necklaceEdita in Vintage dress, Fur coat, Schuh heels, Glitzy Secret bracelet and Swarovski necklace 1Edita in Vintage dress, Fur coat, Schuh heels, Glitzy Secret bracelet and Swarovski necklace 2Edita in Vintage dress, Fur coat, Schuh heels, Glitzy Secret bracelet and Swarovski necklace 3Edita in Vintage dress, Fur coat, Schuh heels, Glitzy Secret bracelet and Swarovski necklace clutchEdita in Vintage dress, Fur coat, Schuh heels, Glitzy Secret bracelet and Swarovski necklace 4
Dress: Vintage via Rokit, Fur coat: My mum’s, Shoes: Schuh, Bracelet: Glitzy Secrets, Clutch bag: MIMI C, Necklace: Swarovski
Images by Geoff Slaughter (also known as one of my besties)

Ah yes, the good old Christmas party at work. I indeed wore that dress and this was truthfully the location of our office’s do. This does not mean that I am okaying for everyone to roll up to their office parties in backless dresses clad with fur coats. So Edita said it was ok is not an excuse. There are a lot of things that partywear is going to depend on; from what kind of people you work with to your own personality.

My colleagues not only know of my blog, they are following it and also encouraging it. In fact, a lot of my posts would be impossible without the warmness from the people that I work with. This means that they are mentally prepared on a daily basis that I am likely to wear something unorthodox at any moment. Some even voice disappointment and criticism if it’s a kind of blah fashion day from me, which I love. Mindless compliments are not my thing and have never been, so I’d rather a “you look like shit today” instead of “awww, that’s a nice rip on your denim”. So a quick recap: people I work with are ace and are totally calm about my backlessness. Got it? Got it.

But now let’s talk about advice; after all, I am trying to be helpful here, which is why I kicked off with a word of caution. But let me cover the general basics that you probably know of anyway, but seeing as this is a “what to wear to a work party” article, I have to tick some boxes here at least to appear as a legit style blogger in-the-know.

Right. A whole array of stylists will tell you to never wear red to an after-hours office do as it screams, as they suggest, desperation. Same goes for figure-hugging styles and those that reveal too much flesh. Ahem. There is also a general consensus that what used to be the go-to option, the LBD, has also become as boring as fuck. Next, over-doing it with the glitter and sparkles brings the look closer to Vegas hooker chic, and wearing printed dresses can potentially be a day-to-night outfit but may underline the wearer’s laziness to bother to change clothes.

Before you panic and think, what the hell is left for one to wear, here’s a quick exercise we both can take part in. Let’s stand up, breathe in, breathe out (rolling out a matt and striking the down-dog yoga pose is optional) and ask all of these rule-makers to kiss our backsides.

Do these fashion experts know the kind of office environment you are in and have they personally profiled the people you work with including your CEO and MD? No. So this means, my friend, you are on your own as they have no idea what your work life looks like, therefore cannot possibly suggest a dress that’s right for you. These sorts of advice pages are redundant even before they are written.  Just like those about wedding guest attire.

So what CAN you DO?

Evaluate your situation. Where will your party take place? This can give you some direction. The bowling alley? A grand ballroom? A cocktail bar? Once you find out, google the place and take inspiration from the decor. It seriously works.

Ask around. Oh hi, have you thought what you are wearing, colleague A? Why yes colleague B, I am wearing this and that – what about you? Oh, this is fun, let’s discuss ideas over lunch. Cool, it’s on me. See? That was easy. Your co-workers can help and often their advice will be much better than that of field experts simply because they know the rules in your office.

Use common sense. You have a great dress that fits like a dream? So what that it is 10 years old? You have no problems and you shouldn’t be even reading this. A good fitting dress is a timeless find.

And stop being so indecisive. We both know that you KNOW what you want to wear and don’t really need any “insider” advice. If it looks good, feels good, just wear it. Over-thinking it kills the fun.

Happy Christmas office parties, folks!

Edita wears | Boyfriend Jeans & Always Coca Cola

Edita in Ralph Lauren top, Swarovski necklace ASOS denim, Zara jacket and Gino Ventori shoes 2Edita in Ralph Lauren top, Swarovski necklace ASOS denim, Zara jacket and Gino Ventori shoes 4Edita in Ralph Lauren top, Swarovski necklace ASOS denim, Zara jacket and Gino Ventori shoes 3Edita in Ralph Lauren top, Swarovski necklace ASOS denim, Zara jacket and Gino Ventori shoes 1Edita in Ralph Lauren top, Swarovski necklace ASOS denim, Zara jacket and Gino Ventori shoes 5Edita in Ralph Lauren top, Swarovski necklace ASOS denim, Zara jacket and Gino Ventori shoes
Top: Ralph Lauren Polo, Denim: ASOS, Jacket: Zara (last seen here), Shoes: Gino Ventori (last seen here), Necklace: Swarovski (last seen here)
Images by Ming Lun Chan
Location: London, UK

Just add coke to an outfit and it automatically has an American feel. That, or a packet of Marlboros. Or a cowboy.

The same goes for red lipstick: without it, the look would be too casual, even scruffy. A touch of red gives it a high maintenance feel despite the wife-beater tank top and the oversized boyfriend jeans.

Ah yes, it’s the little things that girls do and get away with.

Edita wears | Oasis Denim Shirt

Edita in Swarovski necklace, Tommy Hilfiger jeans, Oasis shirtEdita in Swarovski necklace, Tommy Hilfiger jeans, Oasis shirt 1Edita in Swarovski necklace, Tommy Hilfiger jeans, Oasis shirt 5Edita in Swarovski necklace, Tommy Hilfiger jeans, Oasis shirt 2Edita in Swarovski necklace, Tommy Hilfiger jeans, Oasis shirt 3
Necklace: Swarovski (last seen in my hair), Shirt: Oasis, Jeans: Tommy Hilfiger (last seen here), Other Jewellery: Gifts from the boyf and family.
Images: Ming Lun Chan
Location: London, UK

A full on denim outfit can go two ways: you may be mistaken for a clueless weirdo, or a true fashion insider, capable of pulling off bin bags, let alone a double denim dish.

The truth is that it is absolutely pointless for me to list all the denim dos and don’ts – my don’ts can be another person’s dos and vice versa. All of these depend on body shape, personal aesthetic, height and so forth. But here are a few universal truths which tend to work for every woman:

  • Denim is a boyish fabric altogether – there should be a feminine touch here and there. Peeping lace, feminine jewels will tone down the daredevil nature of the fabric;
  • Choose a style and add a bit of your personality to it. Grunge? Okay. 70s like I did? Sure. 50s? Go on then. But don’t forget that you should stand out not the outfit – I added the Edita touch by wearing elegant evening jewels and unbuttoning the shirt a tad too generously.
  • The best accessory you can add to such an outfit is a confident I-know-what-I-am-doing-you-fool face. No questions asked. If you can’t pull off that face, it might be worth sticking to a single shot of denim. For your own sanity.

Edita wears | The Little White Dress

Edita in Bulgari ringSwarovski necklace in Hair Ballerina BunEdita with Erva Clutch, M&S white dress and Bulgari ringBlue Eye Make UpShuh Shoes

Python clutch bag: Erva, Dress: Marks&Spencer, necklace in hair: Swarovski, ring: Bvlgari, pumps: Shuh
Location: London, UK

I felt that flowers in hair got a bit boring, a bit too hippie-like, a bit too kitsch. Which is why I decided to wear one of my most prized possessions instead – the Swarovski necklace that my father got me for my 18th. This instantly added a sort of princess-like aesthetic to a simple little white dress (LWD).
For eye make up I decided to go for blue and yellow eye shadow, black mascara and high shine powder, all from YSL, a brand the products of which are yet to let me down. This was the first time I wore eye shadow sans eye liner, never thought a day like that would come. It did. Hallelujah.