Nadja Swarovski on a coat from Lee McQueen

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Nadja Swarovski
Nadja SwarovskiPhotography by Lorenzo Dalbosco

Nadja Swarovski remembers a special encounter with Lee McQueen

“I first met Lee in the 1990s through Isabella Blow. She took me to see his show with spray-paint (No 13) and it was so amazing and emotional. When I started working at Swarovski, I wanted to work with a designer who was the equivalent of Coco Chanel. Of course it was McQueen. He and Isabella seemed like intimidating, overwhelming people but when you talked to them, they were so gentle.

I went to visit his studio – it was small and packed with fabric and clothes. He had a tight team that was so supportive and protective of him. On the way out he gave me a coat from the closet – this long, yellow leather coat. I thought it was amazing, like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! When I put it on, I feel empowered. It’s like collecting art. I like something with an emotional connection because it’s always a reminder of that person.” 

"When I put it on, I feel empowered. It’s like collecting art"

When Nadja Swarovski – a fifth-generation member of the Austrian crystal-makers – joined the family business in 1995, her mission was to take it back to its high fashion roots. After all, when Daniel Swarovski founded the business in 1895, he supplied crystals to Charles Worth and later to Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. The McQueen ateliers have used their crystals to adorn everything from dancers’ sequined catsuits for the S/S04 presentation to the dramatic gemstone-encrusted bird’s nest headdress for the A/W06 collection. In honour of their long-standing collaboration, Swarovski have partnered with the V&A to bring Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty to London later this year.

This article features in AnOther Magazine S/S15 alongside AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You... with Neneh Cherry, Lucia Pica, Andre Walker and more.