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With Céline Cousteau, Swarovski Explores the Amazon

The filmmaker and environmentalist fetes her latest collaboration with the brand and a new documentary

Céline Cousteau may spend most of her time trekking around the Amazon, but that doesn’t mean the environmentalist and filmmaker isn’t a master accessorizer. Donning a cascade of necklaces, some of which were comprised of Swarovski crystals, others trinkets she acquired during her travels, Cousteau last night welcomed guests to Spring Studios, where her second collaborative collection with Swarovski made its debut. Dubbed “Tribute to Tribe,” the range ties into Cousteau’s forthcoming film, Tribes on the Edge, a documentary about the indigenous tribes of the Vale do Javari in the Brazilian Amazon. A brief clip of the moving film screened at the event. 

 It’s worth noting that Cousteau’s first collection of crystal innovations, which were used in Fall 2016 jewelry by Sorrelli and Camila Klein, was called Ocean Mysteries. If you haven’t already guessed from her last name, she is the granddaughter of legendary French explorer Jacques Cousteau.

“With a last name like I have, it was obvious to go into the oceans,” said Cousteau of her initial Swarovski collaboration. The story she aims to tell with her second project, however, also has deep sentimental roots. “I started going to the Amazon when I was nine-years-old with my grandfather,” she said. “I went back in 2006 and 2007 to document what had happened in the 25 years since my grandfather had gone there, and it was at that time that I entered into a territory called the do Javari,” she continued. “That has influenced everything I do because three years later in 2010, [the tribes there] asked me to tell their story to the world, and in saying yes, I took a responsibility to do so by every means possible.” 

“A lot of the indigenous tribes that I work with live in complete harmony with their ecosystem…The collection is really inspired by [their] stories and those lessons that I learned,” Cousteau said of her “Tribute to Tribes” offering, which is also a celebration of Swarovski’s commitment to sustainability. “It’s hard to design a crystal off of a philosophical thought of nature and human beings coexisting. But when you look at patterns, it becomes much more evident.” Specifically, Cousteau was drawn to the geometric patterns the tribes used in their jewelry and body painting, all of which tell different stories. “They really take tremendous pride… in creating these patterns and these designs, and…in getting painted and accessorized. We did the same to come heretonight. I went to go look for my skirt, I put on some makeup, I put on my accessories. We’re all made up of rituals, we’re just in a different space doing it.”

Indeed, that’s a lot to pack into each Swarovski stone, but the glimmering results, which were displayed amongst green moss and crystal palm fronds, were as beautiful and brilliant as Cousteau’s message of harmony. “This relationship has enabled me to extend [the tribes’ stories] further,” Cousteau said. “[It’s also allowed me to] look at the possibility of not just telling a story through a documentary directly, but what is it like to tell a story through jewelry—through crystal.”

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