|Issue #3 - July 2011: Page 1 / Page 2||Previous Issues|
I met Marios Schwab when we both taught on a fashion degree in a London University a few years ago. In my new role as fashion reporter for Mono. one of the first people I wanted to speak to was Marios Schwab; he designs clothes with an intelligence & subtlety that I admire.
Some of his early collections remind me why I had always wanted to do design clothes. With influences from body-conscious Azzedine Alaia & more sculptural Claude Montana, Marios seems to understand the ongoing dilemmas I face each day as a woman. To be feminine or to be tough? I try to be both depending of how I feel & who I want to be that day - or whom I am going to be working with.
I wanted to get an insight in to his process & to gather what drives him & feeds his imagination. I know he is a good-looking, funny man with a dry wit but he is also a serious designer with ambition. He works on his own label from his studio in Dalston, east London, he is also is head designer at Halston in New York. We manage to slot a telephone interview into his hectic schedule.
I am greeted with 'Hello Daahling' his accent reminds me a tiny bit of Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Flora McLean: Ballet & architecture were your other career options, do these professions influence you design process?
FM: Did the fact your Father was an engineer in a bra factory influence your chosen career?
FM: Your designs have been noted for both femininity & toughness? Who are your favorite female icons?
FM: Did you watch films as a child?
FM: Did you have a favourite super model?
What I was really interested in was the intensity of the character & the emotions. The environment they were in was quite fascinating as at the time there were some amazing photographers creating very strong images. It wasn't just about the fashion it was the combination; it was the whole package, the attitude & how to represent this woman with her very strong personality. It was very different to now, as it was about women that were women, not girls.
Lots of different women I know become the heroine of the collections. Lately I am very attracted to the French/Greek actress, Ariane Labed. When I saw her in the trailer for 'Atenberg' I was really fascinated by the beauty & the character. It's great as later as her stylist approached me for a dress for the Oscars. She is probably the girl I like to have in mind when I design.
It's funny with a muse because I don't really look at a particular person before I design a collection. It's mostly fictional. I do like the fact the heroine has a clash of two personalities. Many women, they like a very particular product, they like something that has character within itself but they don't let it over load their personality. That is the important thing for me: you cover the body with fabric but reveal on the surface. I think that's what the Marios Schwab label is about. It is a game of hide and reveal, sectioning the body so that it becomes stronger - more like architecture in an anatomical way.
FM: You are head of Halston in New York but still work from London studio. Is moving your studio to New York ever an option?
FM: What was the transition to Halston like? Has this design work affected what you do on your own line?
FM: Many designers feel they have just started. Do you realize that you are living the dream or do you still feel you are on your way still?
M. How do you cope with the ongoing relentless pressure of the fashion cycle? What keeps you going when things get too hard? Where do you go to clear your head?
FM:I know your parents were surprised & reluctant about your career choice. Have they changed their minds since?
FM: Do you still have the creative freedom you had when you were starting your career? How do you maintain this?
M. What is your proudest achievement so far?
M. Do you have a favorite fashion designer from now or the past that you follow or look at regularly?
FM: I have noticed some designers who work with cloth have flat ends to their fingers. Is that true of your hands?
FM: Thank you Marios & good luck with your new collections. I will let you carry on with your work now.