One of the inspirations for Marios Schwab's latest collection was Marlene Dietrich. He said he was drawn to her loneliness, a suitably film noir quality for the femme fatale Schwab was once again celebrating in his designs. With her face shadowed by a cloche or wide-brim hat, in a sheath with elbow-length gloves, in a lacquered lace cocktail dress or leather trench, she was, according to Schwab, "the woman you don't know who you fall in love with." Preferably in a city like Budapest. To the designer's credit, the cinematic "woman of mystery" kitschiness of such a notion never got in the way of a collection that was a logical but spectacular extension of his Spring show's dark glamour.
Fusing science and sensuality (a signature fusion, come to think of it), Schwab decorated his body-conscious shapes with mathematical patterns inspired by spirographs and harmonographs. The equation printed on his invitation was the golden ratio, the mathematical equation whose perfect balance is a symbol of perfect beauty, but what the designer insisted he was after was something "biomorphic," almost alien, with dresses molded to skin. Again, it was Dietrich who inspired him, especially the "naked" dresses Jean Louis designed for her cabaret tours in the fifties and sixties. Schwab re-created the effect with evening dresses that featured sequined sheaths glimmering under chiffon veiling, like fish scales viewed through water. They were beautiful. But the same biomorphic effect was realized in more subtle ways elsewhere, with the attention to necklines, for instance.
The lasting impression of a Schwab collection is as deliciously sinister as the narcotic green accents he used in this outing. And kudos must be paid to his musical collaborators, Wladimir Schall and Rafael Wallon-Brownstone, whose dramatic, string-drenched soundtrack incorporated snatches of Mahler, Bernard Herrmann, and the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby." "All the lonely people, where do they all belong?" In Schwab's Fall fantasy, they'll be walking the boulevard of broken dreams in supremely stylish solitude.