Why is the Newest Romeo & Juliet Film So Full of Sparkle?

When you see the newest film version of Shakespeare’s classic “Romeo & Juliet”, released October 11, 2013 and starring Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth, don’t be surprised by the extra sparkle and bling in the gorgeous gowns and tunics. There’s an extra good reason behind the sparkle in those stunning Renaissance costumes. One of the film’s producers is Swarovski Entertainment. Does that name ring a bell?

Nadja Swarovski, whose great-great-grandfather founded the famous Swarovski Crystal company and that is now a $3.5 billion global brand known for their Swarovski crystal rhinestone jewelry and other products, is an executive board member there today. She is friends with Julian Fellowes, writer of television’s “Downtown Abbey”, who adapted this version of “Romeo & Juliet”, and who called her regarding a possible investment in the film. It was clearly a match meant to be. Swarovski Entertainment, the film production arm of the Swarovski Corporation was thus born in 2011, headed by Nadja Swarovski.
Of course, Swarovski crystals have been an important part of iconic film wardrobes for decades — think of Dorothy’s ruby slippers in “The Wizard of Oz”. Now, Swarovski will have a bigger stake in the film industry and, we can hope, the costumes will be even more lovely.

This film version of “Romeo & Juliet” was filmed on location in the Italian cities of Verona and Mantua where Shakespeare originally set the play. Unlike his medieval timeframe, however, director Carlo Carlei has moved up the play to the Renaissance period — much to the delight of costume designer Carlo Poggioli. The Renaissance in Italy was a time of richness and great beauty in art and fabric. This has allowed Poggioli, with the help of Swarovski’s London showroom, to embellish the handmade silks, velvets and chiffons with as much sparkle and flash as he wants. Renaissance fashions for both men and women provided many opportunities for adding Swarovski crystals accents — on belts, bodices, trims, cloak brooches and mesh hair nets — even just hiding in the many folds and flows of these beautiful gowns and tunics.

This is going to be a beautiful movie to see. Between the historic, authentic sets, the more-than-attractive cast and the lavish and beautiful costuming, the aesthetics of this film are not to be missed. (The writer, director and actors have the credits to back-up the likelihood that it’s going to be a terrific film for other reasons, too, but this piece is all about the bling!) Best Costume Oscar possibilities perhaps? We might see the film for the clothes alone! “What light through yonder window breaks?” Oh, it’s the shine from those Swarovski crystals!

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