Nathalie COLIN

EVP Creative Dir. - CGB | SWAROVSKI

Since 2006, Nathalie Colin, Creative Director for the Consumer Goods Business (CGB) division of the Swarovski Group, has driven the creative vision of the business. Nathalie has played a prominent role in modernizing the brand and in establishing Swarovski as a key player on the international fashion scene. The voice of creative vision within the Management Board, she brought her artistic dimension to global strategic topics, injecting her feminine sensitivity and expertise.

Combining expertise and creative vision, Nathalie Colin perpetuates the pioneering and innovative spirit that are at the core of Swarovski’s values, linking heritage and modernity.


1.) What was your very first job?

I started my career working for Perry Ellis in New York alongside Marc Jacobs who was Creative Director for the Brand. Being exposed at a young age to such a talent in fashion convinced me to pursue my career in this industry.

2.) Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.

Since 2006, I have been appointed in a new role as Creative Director which did not exist before in the group. In my role as Creative Director of Swarovski CGB, I constantly have to nurture and also evolve the brand DNA and make sure it does not lose track with today's trends and consumer tastes. I lead the design and trend studios (50 people) and am in charge of defining the seasonal theme and of designing all jewelry, accessories, watches, crystal living collections distributed in over 170 countries. Meaning more than 1 500 designs per year. I have also been a member of the Management Board since 2006, co creating the strategy and leading to the destiny of the brand's success across all dimensions. I have to imagine the red thread to link all these categories in a consistent design language and driven by a strong creative vision.

3.) How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today?

I always knew that the creative world was meant for me. As far as I remember, I was drawing accessories on models featured in mail order catalogues when I was a little child. As creativity is linked to imagination and dream, drawing was the way for me to make my dreams alive. It was always obvious for me that I would apply this to my broader life. Meeting a very inspiring fine art teacher was also certainly a moment where my world broadened and where he freed my creativity and encouraged me to explore further, to be ambitious and to dream big.

4.) In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?

Working in fashion is like a never ending cycle of inspirations, as seasons follow one another, meaning I manage several collections at a time. I have a few tricks to keep fresh and inspired: Crystal, the core material I am creating with, is definitely an endless source of inspiration. It is a lively material that constantly evolves with the daylight and the way we imagine the facets or its combination with other materials. Depending on the trends, we can give jewels out of crystal a completely different twist : rock, romantic, disco, classic, edgy, etc. Always with a modern signature. Diversity as Key driver ! I do not surround myself with clones, having people from various cultures and origins in my team helps me to constantly refresh ideas and come up with new inspirations. They inspire me. Looking at other creative fields and in particular modern art, land art, photography, music, etc. I do not get much inspiration from artistic fields too close to mine but rather from other creative minds in inspiring other art fields. Traveling to discover new cultures, new trends, remaining curious and looking at the world with a child's eye. Traveling is an immense source of inspiration. I love to wonder in the winding streets of different cities, to walk with no goal, admiring architecture, watching people and the way they dress, stepping into art galleries, shopping local ethnic art and crafts, experiencing local food and living the life of locals as much as possible.

5.) If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry "success," what would it be?

I would say an internal Fashion show in Singapore in 2012 with the top 400 of Swarovski senior leaders. I decided to illustrate the importance of the respect of individuality, as it is a value I cherish, and Swarovski does too. To conclude the show, I decided to go bold and featured 3 kinds of couples, all straight and gay options. This was quite a cutting edge and audacious internal message at that time. Surprisingly, at the end of the fashion show, I received so many touching messages from employees, feeling so proud to work for a respectful brand. Some met me in the backstage, and there were lots of tears. In my job, I realize that I can contribute to change positively a part of the world around me and help minds open up further. It is not just a job, it also offers a powerful opportunity to change status quo.

6.) What social media artist/account are you most influenced by?

I am very fond of Instagram as it is a very visual platform. It is a great source of artistic and personal expression. I have multiple opportunities to liaise and keep in touch with artists and sparkling personalities I like while following their account. Every day I dedicate a few minutes to browse freely and interact. There is always one picture or the other that triggers great inspiration for a future project or collection or storytelling. I love the REFINERY29 account and statements and its activist approach to female empowerment. It is always done with great taste and an arty/fashion signature.

7.) Which creative discipline you are more interested in between photography, film, social and experiential?

Since storytelling is so inspiring to me, I love to dive into cinematography. Movies or short films, both I adore as long as there is a strong point of view. In movies, there is such a complex fusion to create the magic : the characters, talents, costumes, scenarios, lighting, film set and decor... From Tarantino, to Gondry... I just love to escape in movies. Lalaland and Bohemian Rapsody definitely inspired me a lot recently.


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