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Crystal Care

by Benazir Shah
An Élan original for Swarovski.

An Élan original for Swarovski.

Swarovski set to shine in Pakistan.

The Pakistan Fashion Design Council (PFDC) teamed up with Swarovski for an exclusive event, “8 Swarovski Crystal Couturiers,” on Feb. 28 in Lahore. Eight of Pakistan’s best couture designers—including Khadijah Shah of Élan, Sehyr Saigol of Libas, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, Sara Shahid of Sublime—created specially commissioned pieces to showcase the crystals that have made Austria’s 120-year-old Swarovski into a global powerhouse. We spoke with Andrew Mojica, Swarovski’s Dubai-based managing director for the Middle East, ahead of the event. Excerpts:

Swarovski has remained a family-owned business since its founding. How has this contributed to the growth of the company?

We are proud to be the worldwide leaders in elegant and luxury precision-cut crystals. Some of our earliest collaborations, in the 1950s, were with Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior. Today, the Swarovski Group has 30,000 staff, presence in 170 countries through 2,480 stores, and over €3 billion in revenues. With time, Swarovski has evolved and customized its crystals and that is where being a family-owned business comes in handy. The tradition has helped put in place the right strategy. The family has educated itself and enriched its experience with crystals over time, and strives to make sure our customers fall in love with crystals.

The Oscars stage this year was bedazzled with almost 100,000 Swarovski crystals. How do you see Hollywood’s love for your products?

We have been working with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since the 1930s. When Marilyn Monroe serenaded President John F. Kennedy, she was wearing our vintage jewels. People are eager to work with our products, primarily because we use the latest technology, keep reinventing ourselves, and provide affordable luxury. Our palette of 80,000 different products that vary in color and mutations allow us to create unique pieces that add that little touch of sparkle that can make a woman feel special.

Have you faced challenge from imitators?

Duplicates will never be able to achieve the quality, the shine, and the innovations of our products. Swarovski has 120 years of research and expertise under its belt. We make sure we are at the forefront of fashion, regardless of trends. This has protected our brand. People don’t realize that we actually manufacture perfect pearls, and one of our major buyers was Coco Chanel herself.

You formally launched in Pakistan last year. What’s your sense of the Pakistan market?

Pakistan is a very attractive and important market; it has a young population which is brand savvy. There was no better way to enter this market than to work with the local craft clusters and designers. Here we are looking to introduce a new range of products and new application techniques, such as crystals on leather or footwear. We established our first official flagship store last year in September in Karachi. We are now looking to open another store by the end of this year in Lahore. We look forward to many rewarding professional collaborations here.

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