Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
LONDON--From the moment the first model came out onto the wooden floor of the theater wearing a light turquoise silk bustier slip dress, followed by a model in a black stretch corseted silk crepe dress with sheer panels outlining its boning, it was clear that Marios Schwab has returned to the tight body hugging silhouette of his first collections. (The label launched in 2006.)
Bruce Springsteen's “I'm On Fire” and Nirvana's “Come As You Are” blasted over the loudspeakers, virtually announcing the fierce rebel spirit of these girls in lingerie dresses dabbed with lacework. Tattoo patterns were printed onto the green and pale pink silks and jerseys.
There was a sense that while these looks were youthful and geared towards a younger generation of women who want sexy clothes, the show lacked the depth of Mr. Schwab’s creative talents.
"I would say this collection is less about body concious shapes and more about fluidity and the drape of cloth on the body to accentuate key areas of interest on the body. Combining the feminine slip dresses with leather pieces which have a tougher, harder edge,” Mr. Schwab said after his show. “The women I had in mind when creating this collection are a generation of women who have multi-faceted personalities shaped by contemporary culture and the different roles she must fulfill in her life. They're loaded with contradictory ideas and spirits.”
"Designed to bring the mystery of the female body to the surface," the show's centerpiece was a variation of the lingerie slip dress whether worn as a top with a slit and torn effect with white print pants or as a corset worn with black leather pants and black leather boots. Remember that Mr.Schwab's father was an engineer at a bra factory and he had studied sewing in Salzburg when he was young. He added his own design elements to make each simple dresses more individualistic. Witness, for example, a lightly draped long silk dress in green with a cut-out at the center of the chest, or a tan leather dress with black leather upside down triangles below the nipples.
While this collection presented less of an experimentation in design than say his pleated and draped dresses from last spring, this time Mr. Schwab went sexy. His women are now aggressive, with their dark eye makeup and wet hair. Inspired by the movie Transylvania--a smorgasbord of Goth, tattoos, biker, grunge and of course romantic mysticism. Surely, the collection has greater commercial appeal than many of his designs in the past. These dresses would allow any store to easily make its planned margins next season.
But now that he has a chance to delve into more commercial clothes with his work for Halston, where he presented a capsule collection in New York less than two weeks ago, Mr. Schwab should reserve his London show to dazzle his audience with an imaginative collection utilizing his superb command of technical skills. He needs to bring back a bit of fearlessness and risk. That's what makes the London shows special.