The renowned crystal designer?s partnership with global brand Clarins proves to be a sweet and sparkling choice
A HOUSEHOLD name for crystals, Swarovski has become synonymous with jewelry, collectibles and fashion. The brand has greatly evolved since its founder Daniel Swarovski discovered a way to cut and facet crystal in Bohemia in 1895.

They have since become part of fashion history, after collaborating with legends Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior in the early 20th century, not to mention Marilyn Monroe, whose performance of ?Happy Birthday, Mr. President? to John F. Kennedy in 1962 was made unforgettable by the clingy dress she wore, hand-sewn with thousands of Swarovski crystals.

Of late, the brand has been closely working with top designers to light up the red carpet with glamorous jewelry and evening bags worn by stars like Penelope Cruz, Sharon Stone, Charlize Theron, Marion Cotillard and Jessica Alba.

Reinventing itself

After a resplendent presence in fashion, Swarovski reinvents itself once again by partnering with beauty giant Clarins Fragrance Group. This time, the brand launches its first fragrance, Aura by Swarovski, along with wearable makeup jewels containing special micronized Swarovski crystals.

During its launch in Domani Bar, Hong Kong, on March 24, Inquirer Lifestyle got to interview key people behind the brand and learn more about Swarovski?s new venture into beauty.

?The idea of fragrance has been around for quite a while in Swarovski,? says Thibaud Gigandet, managing director. ?In 2006, we defined this as a strategic initiative to enter the world of beauty. And it was pretty obvious to us that we will need to do that with a partner. Clarins is the right company for us; we share a lot of similar values, and Clarins is also a family-owned company.?

It seems the partnership of the two global brands was meant to happen, as Clarins was also looking to expand its line of successful fragrance brands. Joël Palix, president of Clarins Fragrance Group, describes how the brands came together: ?In 2007, I was thinking which brand I dream about, and I heard of this contact with Swarovski. I was quite fascinated by the brand; we had contact and immediately there was a very good fit.

?For us, it?s a big commitment. We?ve had Clarins in the ?50s, (Thierry) Mugler in the ?80s, Azzaro in the ?90s, and then Swarovski. It is only every five, 10 years that we sign something that big,? says Palix.

As for Swarovski launching its first fragrance, the brand found an easy transition to beauty, as they saw strong similarities between creating jewelry and a signature scent. ?We are jewelers. Jewelry is something very close to a woman, that you wear on the skin. We describe a fragrance as invisible jewels,? says Gigandet.

Clarins? Olfactory artistic director Pierre Aulas developed Aura by Swarovski. Considered the nose of the company, he worked on translating the crystal brand into a fragrance, which proved to be more difficult than expected. ?The main subject of Swarovski is crystal. Crystal doesn?t smell, crystal is cold. We had to find something to express the fragrance, make it like a liquid crystal.?

Aulas describes the scent as a ?halo of happiness, of something enlightening and very sparkling.?

The fragrance is a dazzling floral creation. At the heart is what Swarovski calls a prism of energy, a fusion between amber and white musk that lends freshness and luminosity to the scent. Mixed with notes of soft lychee, white jasmine and powdery rose, Aura by Swarovski is sweet, alluring and exciting.

The bottle itself is a work of art. Designed by Gwenaël Nicolas of Curiosity Agency, Japan, it is streamlined, modern and simple. The focal point is the Majestic, an asymmetrical Swarovski crystal that sits atop the metal sheath covering the glass container. ?The main idea was to be where we were not expected to be with Swarovski,? says Clarins international communications and customer relationship director Daphne Lepold. ?We really wanted to make a masterpiece that would say timeless.?

Wearable makeup jewels

Along with the fragrance, Swarovski also launched its line of crystal makeup. These wearable makeup jewels consist of powdered, micronized Swarovski crystals and Crystal Shine iridescent pearls that softly blend into the skin. The makeup consists of Crystal Gloss that comes in two shades, transparent and pale pink, and Crystal Touch, which you can apply wherever you want a touch of sparkle. ?It is really soft and pure and it melts into your skin,? describes Aulas.

The makeup is encased in a round pendant jewel that you can wear around your neck with a black leather cord.

The unique packaging of the makeup jewels was inspired by Asia and Japan. After opening the box, you will find an origami-like covering that you pull to reveal the jewel. ?From the beginning we have been really paying attention to detail, and this ritual of opening a case and discovering a beautiful jewel hidden inside was quite nice,? Palix said. ?We thought it was very feminine, like playing with a dollhouse.?

Aura by Swarovski Eau de Toilette will be available in 30 ml, 50 ml and 75 ml. These come in refillable bottles. The fragrance will include a complete body-care line: Perfumed Body Cream (150 ml), Perfumed Deodorant Spray (100 ml), Perfumed Body Lotion (200 ml) and Perfumed Shower Gel (200 ml).