For his Autumn/Winter 2013 womenswear collection, London-based fashion designer Marios Schwab worked with Tunisian artist Nja Mahdaoui to develop a series of exotic graphemes that were used as visual elements throughout. Titled ‘Calligrams’, the collection (particularly in its first section) explored the linguistic structure of poetry transposed into visual form and adopted to illustrate the contours of the body in graphic embossed velvets against ornate lacquered laces and embroidered PVC.
In spite of the focus on how calligraphy can be used as a design trope, Schwab’s talent was at his best in sections of his runway show (presented during the latest London Fashion Week in February 2013) that explored flowing fabrics in long dresses or cape-like structures with sharp cuts and interruptions. Playing with the concept of proportions, the collection contrasted examples of high and low cuts in ethereal shades of smoke and dove grey against rich oxblood, stark emerald and petrol blue that evoked the Russia of the Czars. In addition, Swarowski crystals and shattered antique mirrors embellished delicate fabrics while anchoring their lightness with shimmering weight.
For a second season, Marios Schwab collaborated with Ancient Greek Sandals to create a modern hybrid of a Flemish inspired ballerina Gladiator-style boot in printed burgundy and taupe python leather.
Photographs courtesy of Marios Schwab