Marios Schwab's designs may feel a bit serious and safe in comparison to London's other buzzy, carefree daredevils, but his spring 2014 show was far from forgettable.
He's always been one of those male designers seemingly obsessed with the woman's body, which he really honed in on for this collection, titled "Contours." With that in mind, the opening look featured strategically placed blue paint strokes on a body-hugging white dress. "I started by brushing and contouring the body in different ways, to highlight the body but also slim it," Schwab told us backstage after the show. And who wouldn't want that?
The designer also experimented with an "element of rawness," as he put it, with pieces that looked unfinished. For instance, sleeves and capelets appeared to be stapled (like literally, with staples) to the bodices of sleek, simple dresses. Rather than a failed Project Runway challenge, the result looked modern and sophisticated. He said he wanted the look to be "something that is not entirely finished, a little bit broken, but romantic at the same time."
Another way in which he broke up the body was with flowing ribbons. "I wanted to bring an element of movement through the flirtatious ribbons that were attached to the garments, sometimes highlighting contours," he explained.
He prefers descriptors like romantic, flirtatious, and seductive over sexy, though his woman (not girl) definitely has sex appeal. "I like women with their own personality and they know how to work a dress, they are very opinionated about what they wear, they don't choose it from a magazine, they have their own way of looking at the angle of fashion," he said.
He added that he wanted to give the impression of "a woman that is in motion at all times." The cool flat sandals used throughout the collection should help. They're a first time collaboration with Greek sandalmakers Pantelis Melissinoa (Jackie Onassis and Sophia Loren were/are fans). They also added a needed casual, real-world element to the statement-making looks, as did the occasional backpack or baseball cap.
No wonder Schwab is also one of the designers e-commerce site My-Wardobe.com selected for its "London Lab"--through which the site highlights innovative London-based designers--and we'd be surprised if a few of these pieces didn't end up in its inventory next spring.
Full disclosure: My-Wardrobe.com graciously provided our travel and accommodations for London Fashion Week this season.