LFW: MARIOS SCHWAB F/W 2014

Candles on the runway (electronic, for safety). Dark, moody music. The first piece is a knit, long-sleeve mini dress with a plunging V-neck that reveals the bra beneath. Around the model’s neck is a black velvet choker to which is attached a long silver pendant. Welcome to Marios Schwab’s fall/winter 2014 collection.

To judge the whole collection based on the first few leather-intensive, tough girl looks would be a mistake, though. Sure, those collars and the plated leather got everyone’s attention, but Marios then follows those looks with one gorgeous ensemble right after another, each one less intimidating and more feminine than the one before it. By the end of the show, we were looking at beautiful, light, flowing gowns with layers of chiffon and absolutely no leather in sight.

Well, okay, Schwab did slip in a pair of leather slacks for the penultimate look, but even that was topped with loose flowing chiffon.

What’s important to recognize in this collection is the masterful job Schwab does with layering, especially with fabrics of dramatically different textures. At times it’s a long cape draped over the left shoulder. Other times, it’s chiffon over cotton. One of the most striking looks of the collection is a crop top sweater over a dress . Okay, we’ve seen that look before. So what does Schwab do? He pulls up the left side over the shoulder. For one look, he takes that above-the-shoulder piece and turns it into a scarf flowing behind. The effect is stunning and effective.

Schwab also does a great job of paying attention to detail and providing continuity across his pieces. Buckles are one of those things easily overlooked, but Marios uses them deftly both for function and decoration. Brilliantly, a sparkling design seen on a sweater early in the show comes back as a decorative element on the underlay of a gown later.

Many times one can sit and watch a show and leave thinking, “Oh, that was nice.” With Marios Schwab one needs to pay very close attention because what one sees on the surface is only the beginning. This is a great collection that should do quite well this fall.

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