Everything Marios Schwab designs comes about only after he's gone through several rounds of intellectual inquiry and striven to articulate something about the way we're living today. This time, his drive was to find "a new way of looking at bohemian dressing," a mission that meant he was going to challenge himself to get away from the short and tight body-con dresses he helped bring into fashion, but which have now become tedious. "I started with period costume, looking at maids' muslin skirts and suiting," he said, detailing how he'd then divided the body into three zones to try to invent a new proportion that didn't look retro.

Schwab laid out the foundation of his thesis by sending out three "whole" versions of the garment templates he would then proceed to chop up: a puffy, bunchy, pale peach dress; a lavender organza pantsuit; and a vertically knife-pleated beige silk dress. After that, the essay proper started, with multiple variations on cropped tops over pleated midsections with wispy, bunchy skirts floating beneath.

The intention was to find a designed parallel to the way women will mismatch, say, a man's blazer with a soft dress. "There are no rules, no one fashion anymore—this is the way of dressing now," Schwab said. The question is: Did his rearrangements of silhouettes work beyond the drawing board? Not wholly. Some of the torso-centered French-blind heavy satin pleating looked awkward, forced, even borderline ugly. Had it come fused onto the more diaphanous skirts to make dresses, Schwab might really have been in trouble, but fortunately the skirts are separate pieces—and quite possibly will underpin his collection as next season's commercial money-spinners.