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Swarovski Elements decks out Rodeo Drive with holiday bling

November 20, 2011 |  7:10 am

Swarvski sculpture, Rodo Drive
As if Rodeo Drive needed any more glitz, the retail mecca is about to get crystallized for the holiday season, thanks to Swarovski Elements.

The crystal company is known for providing glittery pieces to countless fashion and accessory companies. On Monday it plans to unveil a holiday installation that will remain through Jan. 3 on Rodeo Drive’s median, just north of Wilshire Boulevard.

This is the first time Swarovski Elements is taking over the street for the holiday season. It has similar installations at Harrod’s department store in London and Takashimaya stores in Tokyo and Singapore.

Nearly 55,000 crystals will festoon Beverly Hills’ famous shopping street, 41,775 of them used for the interactive sculpture on the median. The sculpture isn’t in the shape of an evergreen, twinkling star, angel or swan, as you might expect around the holidays. Instead the company went for a more modern and somewhat scientific approach, designing the sculpture to look like a DNA helix to convey the idea of communication and the various ways in which we transmit information.

The ribbon-like sculpture with intertwining strands  -- that's an artist's rendering, above --  will display messages sent from people all over the world. Participants can tweet a message with the hash tag #letitsparkle or, in the U.S. only, text the word “sparkle” followed by a greeting to 877877. The messages will appear on a ticker tape-like structure built into the sculpture. People’s sentiments will appear in the languages in which they are sent.

Tweets and texts aren’t the only interactive portion of the Swarovski Elements holiday event. Shopping is part of the equation too, since several retailers on the street have created items using Swarovski Elements crystals that are exclusive to their Rodeo Drive locations. Missoni, La Perla, Escada and Ferragamo are among the shops participating.

In addition, more than 1,700 crystals will embellish Rodeo’s palm trees and about 10,000 crystals will deck holiday banners.

Swarovski couldn’t comment on how much all the bling is worth, but given that single beads offered on the company’s website start at about $10.50 each, a display using more than 50,000 crystals is lavish indeed.

For anyone who loves bling (and we’re guessing that’s the majority of those who flock to Rodeo, whether to buy or drool), then the combo of crystals and high-end shopping should be festive indeed.


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--Melissa Magsaysay

Image: Artist's rendering of Rodeo Drive holiday installation. Credit: Swarovski Elements