Diamonds are Forever - Swarovski Style-Guides

With the unveiling of the Design Museum's new exhibition on Swarovski, Bridgeman’s Laura Summerton meets her client, Swarovski Freelance Designer Trudie Samuel, and asks her what makes the perfect image...

Trudie, you have been with Swarovski for some time.  Can you tell us more about your work with them, and your experience of being involved with such a large and influential brand?

My work for Swarovski has always come under the umbrella of creative marketing; researching imagery to promote the company's brand vision and public image.  My first project for them ten years ago was a book called Crystal Premium, which reflected the brand's connection with things of great beauty.  For my latest project, Crystal Design Inspirations, I have again been lucky enough to work with Swarovski's Creative Director and the trend forecasting team, all based in Innsbruck, Austria.

You work on Swarovski's Trend Brochures, released each season to showcase the brand's key style trends.  Can you tell us about the process of picture editing for the trend brochures?

For each brochure I am given a written outline and a mood board, which I then build on using real photography, illustrations, paintings, fashion photography and samples, and still-life images.  My aim is to create an eclectic mix of images that, together, reflect the feeling of a scrapbook.  The process is intense and totally absorbing - I look through hundreds of pictures and am constantly reviewing, refining and editing the selection until it comes down, finally, to a batch of about thirty images.

 

Strolling along the Seashore, 1909, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) / Museo Sorolla, Madrid, Spain / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library
Strolling along the Seashore, 1909, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) / Museo Sorolla, Madrid, Spain / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library

 

 

Marie Antoinette with a Rose, 1783, Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun (1755-1842) / Chateau de Versailles, France / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library
Marie Antoinette with a Rose, 1783, Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun (1755-1842) / Chateau de Versailles, France / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library

 

What drew you to Bridgeman: how did you find us and what has been your experience of working with our team?

Bridgeman is one of the few agencies that I work with and it is, in my opinion, the best in the business at what it does.  The dimension that it's historical paintings and drawings bring to my work is absolutely essential.  I have worked closely with Laura Summerton, Bridgeman's Senior Account Manager, to source imagery over the years.  She is a delight and has been essential to me in my current project - we worked together right from the start, building a prototype version of the magazine over a year ago which has now transformed into the current, regular magazine.

 

Laura Summerton, Senior Account Manager, Bridgeman Art Library
Laura Summerton, Senior Account Manager, Bridgeman Art Library

 

 

Shoalhaven River, 1982, Arthur Boyd (1920-99) / Private Collection / The Bridgeman Art Library
Shoalhaven River, 1982, Arthur Boyd (1920-99) / Private Collection / The Bridgeman Art Library

 

From a personal perspective, who/what is your favourite artist or artistic period?

My favourite artist would have to be the Australian artist Arthur Boyd, who I first came across when I was living in Sydney.   The scale and impact of his work is so impressive.

If money were no limit, which painting would you choose to hang on your wall, to live with every day?

River Bank and Four Rocks by Boyd - it's a magical piece.  Though in fact, any of Boyd's Australian landscapes would do!

What would you say are your picture editing characteristics, your trademarks?

Hard work - my motivation comes from being a bit of a work-a-holic at heart. Experience is the other key element; having worked in picture research for over 20 years at British Vogue, Australian Vogue, Harpers and Tatler, it's what I'm used to.

As a freelancer, what is the secret to working successfully with a wide range of clients on different projects, and quickly grasping their aims and needs?

It's all about developing human relationships - you have to connect with the client and understand the brief, and then find people at agencies and libraries to help you bring the project to fruition.  Together we're a team, and enjoying the interactive aspect of the work is essential to doing a good job.

Swarovski's modern mantra is "To add sparkle to people's everyday lives", catering to our love of all that glitters, the "bling".  In your view, is it an attraction to value, to status, or to the sheer, magpie-like joy of shimmering objects?

I do believe that over and above our material connection with value, there is a human connection to the twinkling....  We are naturally drawn to reflective, bright, glistening objects - rather like moths but with more imagination!

 

De Beers diamonds / Private Collection / Images of Empire/UIG / The Bridgeman Art Library
De Beers diamonds / Private Collection / Images of Empire/UIG / The Bridgeman Art Library

 


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