More often than not, London fashion designers produce collections that are frequently renowned for their unbridled eccentricity rather than commercial acumen. Over the last few decades the prestigious fashion schools based in the British capital have established their reputation as cradles for outlandish sartorial creativity despite the fact that, on most occasions, the talented designers that these institutions nourished have gone on to see their ingenuity tamed by the commercial pressures of business when securing employment for major fashion labels.
Owing to this reputation, when a young designer comes to the fore on the London stage with collections that aren’t ranges of anti-fashion, distressed, retro streetwear, but celebrations of competent and luxurious design and techniques that acknowledge the balance between ingenuity and commercial flair, one cannot but take heed. And this is what Marios Schwab managed to do with a highly triumphant womenswear collection for Autumn/Winter 2012.
Presented during London Fashion Week in February 2012, Schwab’s collection comprised a diverse range of elegant skirts, dresses, and jackets that kept taking to the runway before a very pleased audience. The looks were all very different but of equal high quality when it came to illustrating the designer’s potential to harness the creative possibilities of fashion as a manifestation of luxurious taste. The command of historical sartorial trends was remarkable throughout an ambitious collection where 1920s’ hats were mixed with 1940s’ dress cuts and 1970s’ high-society glamorous suits.
In particular, the series of long flowing pleated dresses in chiffon layers of contrasting colours replete of complex abstract embroidery made many buyers and journalists smile. In addition, the numerous applications of lace (either real or with printed tromp-l’oeil effects), sequined and bejewelled fabrics, and richly textured coats with panels of leather and astrakhan confirmed that this was a sophisticated and glamorous attempt by Schwab to create a ready-to-wear collection with purposeful ambitions to be haute couture.
Schwab, of Greco-Austrian origin, completed his BA at Esmod Berlin with distinction and a Best Student award before enrolling in the MA course at London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, which he completed in 2003. He worked for the menswear designer Kim Jones, on Jones’s womenswear label, before starting his own business in 2005. He has shown on schedule at London Fashion Week since Spring/Summer 2006, and has seen his work featured in numerous magazine editorials, including American Vogue, Bazaar USA, French Vogue, Russian Vogue, British Vogue, i-D, Self Service, V Magazine, Another Magazine and Dazed & Confused. His main stockists are Browns, Harvey Nichols and Dover Street Market in London, Maria Luisa in Paris, WR and Side-by-Side in Tokyo and Opening Ceremony and Barneys in New York. He was awarded Best New Designer at the British Fashion Awards in 2006 and the Swiss Textiles Award in 2007.