In fashion, the most fascinating collections are the product of creative synergies. For proof, look no further than Zeus+Dione’s Spring-Summer 2021 collection, designed by the brand’s new creative director Marios Schwab. Known for his concept-driven approach, razor-sharp tailoring, and hand-finished details, the half-Greek, half-Austrian fashion designer has married the brand’s classical simplicity and passion for traditional craftsmanship with contemporary sophistication and subversive vigour. Raised in Athens, he studied at the prestigious Esmod fashion school in Berlin and Central Saint Martins in London, where, a few years later, in 2005, he launched his own label. Since then, Schwab has been wowing fashion critics and industry insiders alike, winning several prizes, including Best New Designer at the British Fashion Awards in 2006, collaborating with luxury brands like Halston and Swarovski, and helming the beachwear and swimwear line On The Island. Coming full circle, his return to Athens as Zeus + Dione creative director ushers in an exciting new chapter both for the talented designer and the brand. We recently caught up with Schwab to ask him about his design ethos, inspirations, and his first collection for Zeus + Dione which will soon hit the stores (pre-order here).
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Storytelling is a big part of how I imagine the narrative of a product. I love researching, bringing together ideas and references, and shaping them, which is what I enjoy the most.
How would you define your design philosophy?
I’m not sure about calling it a “philosophy” as such. With that being said, however, Hide and Reveal always plays a big role in my design approach. It’s how my ideas begin.
In what way does your Greek heritage influence your designs?
Shadow and light: I’m inspired by the chiaroscuro of the Greek landscape, from the authenticity of remote rural corners, to the concentrated urban life of Greek cities. The vanishing stereotypes and the country’s authentic characters become reference points for concepts and design, while ruins, fragments and the beauty of the broken and dismantled is always an intriguing approach that redefine the traditional.
Take us through your creative process. Do you tend to overthink your designs or do you primarily rely on instinct and spontaneity?
Instinct always. I like drafting and experimenting. Being hands-on allows me to learn through each project I embark upon and once I know the rules, I sometimes challenge them and create something slightly more personal.
How does your passion with the female form inform your design?
I guess logic and anatomy are key elements in the way that I shape my designs. We live in our clothes more than our homes and that principle is a tribute to the form of the body, be it male or female.
Your concept-driven, minimalist design ethos seems a good fit for the classical simplicity at the heart of Zeus + Dione. Did you feel the same way when the collaboration was first proposed to you?
I prefer clothes to tell a story, from their construction, to the way they are interpreted by each individual wearing them. Sometimes you need to add a bit or take that little too much away to avoid being too literal. I do not like being literal.
Which aspects of the Zeus + Dione brand fascinate you the most?
The association of the artisanal and of course the future vision and aspirations that I bring to Zeus + Dione.
What is the concept behind Zeus + Dione SS21, your first collection for the brand?
It’s a collection of beautifully crafted elements inspired by the Revolution of 1821 and my personal interpretation of the modern Greek dress code.
The collection embraces muted colours like white, cream and beige, interjected with vibrant splashes of red, yellow and blue. How did this colour palette come about?
I looked at key signature colours in the Greek landscape and heritage but also expressive and symbolic colours that played a part in the history of the revolution. Researching antique national flags and their colours like cyan blue has been a fascinating journey that resulted in using them in various combinations.
What is your vision for the role of fashion in a post-consumerist society?
Sustainability and ethics are at the forefront of my thought process. My vision for Zeus + Dione is to evolve an already existing ethical business model that focuses on preserving cultural heritage and working closely with communities around Greece in order help them thrive by further developing local craftsmanship, traditional textiles and artisanal enterprise. I believe that Zeus + Dione is a good example of a sustainable luxury fashion brand.