Designer Spotlight: Marios Schwab

Looks from Marios Schwab SS12

A few weeks ago I blogged about the British designers that visited Hong Kong. While I chatted with several of them, I was really drawn to the work of Marios Schwab.

Schwab is one of several designers that are putting London back on the fashion map with his sexy, body-con dresses that redefine the female body. While his work embodies the edgy, creative spirit that British designers are now known for, he is actually half Austrian, half Greek and grew up in Athens. He also had aspirations to become a ballet designer before realising that fashion design was a career better suited to his talents.

“I think it was connected to the appreciation of the body. I was always intrigued about why we wore clothes, and how we chose to cover the body. I was always very drawn to the sculptural element and even now the starting point for every collection is the body,” he told me.

His fashion education started at 15 when he attended a traditional fashion college in Austria, before heading to the prestigious Esmod in Berlin where he won the Best Student Award. Not knowing where to go next, he was immediately drawn to London’s Central Saint Martin’s which is known for its expressive approach to fashion design.

“Coming from a Greek and Austrian background made me very thirsty to come to London. It as unexpected and I just thrived off the energy. There is this free spirit in the way people teach you, talk to you, dress in everyday life,” he said.

After a short stint working with designer Kim Jones, Schwab debuted his eponymous label in 2005. Critical acclaim for his architectural designs quickly followed with awards including Best New Designer at the British Fashion Awards in 2006.

“My designs are very much about the proportion – it starts from enhancing the lines of the body. Women who wear my clothes are after something that lets their personality breathe through the clothes, but is not overpowered by them. She is self confident in the way she wears the garment, and she likes to reveal the body in a very sophisticated way,” said Schwab, who also cites photographers such as Steven Miesel and Herb Ritts as inspiration.

This philosophy can clearly be seen in the recent spring/summer 2012 collection which is inspired by Chiaroscuro (the contrast between light and dark). Curvaceous shapes are made contemporary and edgy thanks to fabrics such as power net and netted lace.

“You see a shadow effect which is the result of layering stretch mesh over layers of pastel fabrics to create a graphic look. We’ve also used different panels of fabric to achieve a corsetry effect that’s not rigid, but soft. Panels of Swiss guipure lace are inserted into dresses to reveal yet conceal. It’s all about projections and shadows –  I wanted to play with textures,” he explained.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Marios Schwab is available at Joyce, Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, tel: +852 2810 1120. www.mariosschwab.com

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