You have to look carefully to find London's twenty-first century talents. Like Marios Schwab, they're emerging slowly and deliberately from behind the scenes, learning from (or perhaps rebelling against) the mistakes made by their loudmouth nineties forebears. Schwab, though, has just as strong a visioncurvaceously body-seamed cuts, gorgeous fabrics, and meticulously beautiful finishesas anyone who rocked London with their theatrical antics a decade ago.
Right now, young London stylists and editors are buzzing about the short sexy dresses of Versace and Alaïa. Schwab, a Greek/Austrian designer, is one of the few capable of rechanneling that enthusiasm into clothes that don't look embarrassingly retro. His short hourglass dresses in double-knit jersey, silk velvet, or gold and black brocade, come embellished with fronds of gold metalwork that curve around the bust. Other looks bespeak a fascination with the techniques of old-fashioned corsetry: A high-waisted skirt has a girdle panel in the front, and a seemingly stark little black dress turns to reveal a curvy bustle and erotic insets of lace in the small of the back. Schwab is humbleand sensibleenough to participate in a joint show organized by Fashion East, this time in the civilized surroundings of Terence Conran's Bluebird restaurant in Kings Road. Next season he should fly solo.