May 2017

The Cool Cactus

Trend of the Month

It’s official: the cactus is the new pineapple! With the Rio Olympics over, and all things Brazilian and tropical stowed away for another day, the cactus is having a big moment. Check out how fashion designers are using it as a motif: it has adorned Dolce & Gabbana’s menswear, Markus Lupfer’s womenswear, and been given an abstract twist by Kenzo. You don’t need 100-degree heat to enjoy the warmth of the desert at home, either—the clay, cowhide, and cacti look has taken the decorating world by storm. It can be seen in the distinctive, swirling colors of Minnesota’s Nemadji pottery, cactus-print wallpaper and cushions, and real-life plant versions on windowsills. Known for their drought-tolerant toughness, they’re a good metaphor for challenging times, which makes the cactus a true icon for the modern era.

Playful, graphic, and with a touch of irony that makes us smile (think Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns), what’s not to like? So get crafty and introduce this spiky succulent into your environment in unexpected ways—as an individual book cover, a cute charm for your bag, a distinctive blackboard, or a fun ceramic ornament. Work the cactus trend!


May 2017

Meet the Perles & Co winners

3 stunning designs

Popular online bead shop Perles & Co may be French, but it seems that Italy is having its sparkling DIY beading moment right now. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that all three winners of its Swarovski-supported international design competition happen to be from a country known worldwide for its style. Jelena Saveljeva, Serena Di Mercione and Diana López impressed the judges with their flair for striking yet wearable handmade pieces. They beat entries from around the world as well as seven other talented finalists to be named the winners of the competition’s three categories: Jewelry, Master Beader and Custom Decoration. As part of their prize Swarovski invited them and their partners to stay at Adlers Design Hotel in Innsbruck, which is famed for its sublime mountain views, together with a private access-visit to Swarovski World. After an exciting day exploring Kristallwelten and the Archive, they had dinner and shared design tips and glittering inspirations:

Image credits, from left to right and top to bottom:
1. Art Deco Necklace by Serena Di Mercione
2. Ocean Breeze Bracelet by Jelena Saveljeva
3. Tropical Earrings by Diana López

Serena’s stunning ocean-fresh necklace for the Master Beader category was inspired by the current trend for Art Deco geometries. Her idea was to give it elegance and light-filled beauty through the use of clean lines and Swarovski pearls and crystals that feature simple, modern cuts. A favorite technique is Japanese shibori dyed silk, combined with bead embroidery, which she claims is “very versatile, never boring and constantly evolving.” And she loves asymmetric crystals, such as the inimitable Kaput cut that Swarovski created with Jean Paul Gaultier. Asked why her top colors are Bermuda Blue, Aquamarine, Glacier Blue and Pacific Opal, she had everyone misty-eyed for home: “They remind me of the sea surrounding my country, Sicily.”

Jelena was another prizewinner who took inspiration from sunlight glinting off the water, choosing to create an organic look for her winning pieces. By contrasting shimmering bi-cone crystals and iridescent blue pearls with waves of natural linen thread she told a story “surrounded by bright sunlight, the ocean, flowers and aromatic herbs, with the wind blowing through your hair and your mind relaxed.” Another way she relaxes is with her favorite embroidery technique, Broderie de Luneville. She even has a Facebook group devoted to it. Jelena found it almost impossible to name a favorite crystal, but it’s a clear clue that her Mexican crown piece was made almost entirely with the ever-versatile bi-cone!

When Diana saw the SS17/18 Pantone color chart its tropical blend of lush brights and pretty pastels reminded her instantly of the colorful birds in Italy. It made her want to create a pair of joyfully vibrant earrings for the Jewelry category. Surprisingly, she was unsure whether to enter at first, explaining “I’m not a professional and I’m still learning a lot, but one day I had a flash of inspiration and went for it.” Her specialist technique is soutache galloon and she loves the way it frames each crystal, which she describes as her “main characters.” Her favorite “characters” include Rivoli Round Stones, Navettes, Chatons, Oval and Pear Fancy Stones. They are “fundamental elements full of color that enrich my pieces with light and reflection—like telling a story.”

Art Deco Necklace by Serena Di Mercione
Ocean Breeze Bracelet by Jelena Saveljeva
Tropical Earrings by Diana López

Find out more about these highly skilled and very talented beaders on their social media pages:




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April 2017

Tray Jumbled Triangle

Design of the Week

Add a touch of spring’s seasonal magic to your interior décor with accessories that catch and reflect the light. Authentic and timeless, subtle and luxurious, the Soft Triangles tray’s luminous whiteness and asymmetric crystal embellishment makes for a decorative and useful accent.


April 2017

Bangle Baroque Mirror

Design of the Week

There’s something about basket weave that says warm weather and easy living are just around the corner. Here, creamy pearls and warm-colored crystals come together in the Baroque Mirror—a great look for nights on the town or barefoot walks on the beach.


April 2017

Wooden Soap Dish Pure Crystal

Design of the Week

As spring transforms the world outside, we draw on mood-enhancing natural elements for interior inspiration—the richness of wood, the sophistication of metal, and the discreet shimmer of light-reflecting crystals. The Pure Crystal soap dish introduces a sense of harmony to your bathroom.


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