January 15, 2016

the digital world meets the real world in something as unique as this: the #techdreamers edition of luisaviaroma’s firenze4ever. this year’s fashion event combines talent and imagination in the most brilliant way possible – through a collaboration with swarovski that shines the light on some of the freshest designers and their crystal-studded creations. By Amelia Tan

Whether it’s a global brand, an underground indie label, or a mass market chain store company that you might notice less on the streets these days, you won’t be surprised to find them peddling their wares online – that’s a necessity in this age. Go online, or go home. The web sells.

So, for luxury e-retailer, we’d consider them a bit of a technological marvel. Yes, they sell things incredibly well online, things that include the latest F/W designer collections, upcoming designers alongside established ones, limited edition collaborations with the likes of Dsquared, Givenchy and Giuseppe Zanotti, and also jewellery and bags and even home items, carefully curated and optimised for your convenient clicking. But what’s really interesting is that they’ve taken the whole online experience to the real world – a concept they lovingly call “Firenze4Ever”.

The first-ever event started in June 2010, to celebrate the web company’s 10th anniversary of online activity. Since then, every follow-up to the bi-annual event, that effortlessly combines the worlds of fashion, art, design and music, is highly sought after, both as an opportunity to style and create exclusive photoshoots, and to glimpse at rare exhibitions and designer collaborations.

The upcoming event is no different. Held just a week before the wild frenzy of Fashion Week, from 9 – 11 January in the heart of Florence, Italy, this 12th edition’s highlight has got to be their collaboration with Swarovski, a way to interpret 120 years of the brand’s iconic crystals.

This then gives us twice the reason to celebrate – particularly with two key showcases. One, a Crystal Couture exhibition that runs till 24 January, where patrons get up close with works of art that combine high fashion tailoring and those stunningly brilliant crystals. The stuff of haute couture dreams, essentially.

And second, something even we can experience while miles away from the action: a Limited Edition collection that sees designers and creatives from around the world, now called TechDreamers, weaving in Swarovski’s coveted crystals into their dresses, clutches, or sparkly jewellery. These will be on display at Luisaviaroma’s concept store in Florence, till the end of February, but also go on sale online. The brand deems it an “imaginary universe”, and we agree, given the stunning diversity of pieces from the 30 handpicked, emerging talents.

Rather than out-blinging each other, each piece is unique to the designer’s contemporary style. Our recent NYLON Singapore cover girl, Chiara Ferragni, presents some casual denim loafers, very much her style, now with her signature winky-eyed motif encrusted in tiny crystals. There’s the over-the-top delight of Christophe Terzian’s badass men’s leather biker jacket, Anton Heunis’ chunky chain and gems, or a loud MCM backpack in studded gold and silver with a furry front pocket. If you’re into the edgy stuff, you’ll like Faith Connexion’s handpainted skull and roses tee that looks like an airbrushed wall mural studded with crystal confetti. That, or the unbelievably architectural design of an Moxham choker

Then again, we get the incredibly girly touches of UK designer Mary Katrantzou and her lace embossed cocktail dress, Thailand designer Ek Thongprasert’s silicone and enamel necklace, or a Giancarlo Petriglia box-like handbag that has large bubblegum-coloured studs and fringe. Heels by Giuseppe Zanotti, Casadei, and Camilla Elphick round up the classy picks. One thing’s for sure, crystal-clear even – we’re definitely adding all of them to our wishlists, forever.

The 12th edition of Luisaviaroma’s Firenze4Ever, the #TechDreamers edition, from 9 – 11 January 2016.