struck precisely one note with his latest collection, but it was exactly the right one for him. His subject was chiaroscuro, the interplay of light and dark, and it allowed him to exercise his genetically predetermined gift for alternately revealing and concealing the female form. (Schwab's father made his living in lingerie.) The silhouette was the classic summer dress, usually sleeveless, nipped at the waist, the sort of thing Audrey Hepburn would have worn—or maybe that was just an aural cue from the burst of Charade
music on Rafael Wallon-Brownstone's fabulous show soundtrack. But Schwab twisted that proper little piece with inserts of net and fabrics perforated to suggest the skin beneath, so his femme was rather more fatale than Audrey. There was an athletic edge to the result, too, which the designer acknowledged with the inclusion of some striking bathing suits.
Schwab's shows are often stark. There was no adornment here, bar a sprinkle of Swarovski crystals across the lattice of a top. Otherwise, it was the seaming that did double duty as decoration. But the starkness had the subversive sensuality of film noir. Schwab made his women into creatures of mystery, in keeping with the chiaroscuro theme. He dressed them in feminine pastels, which he then veiled in sheer black. It sucked the life out of the colors but gave them, in return, an alluring shimmer, brought to a head in a sheer evening dress through which sequined shorts sinisterly glittered. There ain't no sunshine in Schwab's summer—it's a world of spies, lies, and double-crossing. But it will haunt the season.