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The Little Black Dress Gets Crystallized By 22 Designers & Auctioned To Benefit Charity.

above: dress by Gaspard Yukievich

One year ago, CRYSTALLIZED™ – Swarovski Elements commissioned 22 of fashion’s leading designers and most promising talents to create one very special black dress each (all shown later in this post).

After a successful launch in Paris during couture week this past January, the dazzling collection of show pieces went on public display at the city’s prestigious Palazzo Pozzo di Borgo. The exhibition then travelled to Beijing, where it was unveiled at an exclusive event on 8th April 2010.

The Little Black Dresses range from soigné shifts by Gianfranco Ferré and Phillip Lim for 3.1 phillip lim, through frothy cocktail dresses by Lanvin and Alberta Ferretti, to sexy gowns by Donna Karan New York and Giorgio Armani Privé.

Each designer found brilliantly inventive ways to make use of Swarovski Elements: Vivienne Westwood added crystal mesh peplums to her taffeta party dress; Alber Elbaz suspended Swarovski Elements to create a trompe l’oeil necklace; and Martin Grant completely covered his curvy short-sleeved shift with crystals to imitate the glistening look of stingray skin.

above: detail of Martin Grant dress

Other designers participating in the 22 Ways To Say Black project are: Alexis Mabille, Azzaro, Boudicca, Catherine Malandrino, Diane Von Furstenberg, Fendi, Gaspard Yurkievich, Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Marios Schwab, Missoni, Sonia Rykiel, Thakoon and Valentino.

All 22 dresses are hand-made – perfect, one-of-a-kind distillations of their creators’ imaginations. “Couture is the purest expression of a designer’s art,” says Giorgio Armani of his gown. “It is an opportunity to really explore the possibilities of fashion without commercial constraints.”

The 22 Little Black Dresses:

3.1 Phillip Lim:

Alberta Ferretti:

Alberta Ferretti (detail):

Alexis Mabille:



Catharine Malandrino:

Diane Von Furstenberg:

Diane Von Furstenberg (detail):

Donna Karan:


Fendi (detail):

Gaspard Yurkievich:

Gianfranco Ferre:

Gianfranco Ferre (detail):

Giorgio Armani Privé:

Jean Paul Gaultier:

Alber Elbaz for Lanvin:

Lanvin (detail):

Marios Schwab:

Martin Grant:


Missoni (detail):

Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy:

Sonia Rykiel:

Sonia Rykiel (detail):


Thakoon (detail):


Vivienne Westwood:

Vivienne Westwood (detail):

The above dress photos and detail photos are courtesy of photographers (and couple) Scheltens and Abbenes and appear in the book. Images courtesy of Swarovski.

The Auction To Benefit Charity

In September 2010, at Phillips de Pury’s New York gallery, at 450 West 15th Street, all 22 dresses will be sold at auction to benefit the American Cancer Society and La ligue nationale contre le cancer in France. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the two charities, as well as all profits from the sale of the book CRYSTALLIZED™ – Ways to Say Black.

View a video of the Crystallized - 22 Ways To Say Black Exhibition here.

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