Flip-books, Surrealist picture consequences, Plato's theories of the division of the soul and a fusion of past, present and future. Marios Schwab is the most rigorous, considered and cerebral of all London's designers, and this season he gave his (and our) little grey cells the full work-out. Schwab's shtick was dissection - his cut has always been surgical, and acclaimed as such, but this season he boldly sheared the body into three distinct segments, sliced across the ribs and again at the hip. For Schwab three, it seems, is the magic number - if you need to know, based on universal spatial division and the Pythagorean theorem that three is the noblest of all digits. Accordingly, it was in the first trio of outfits that Schwab set the tone: a Directoire draped chiffon evening dress, a strictly-tailored trouser suit and a slightly sci-fi pleated shift with anatomical top-stitching. These provided the bare bones for his mix-and-match game of 'Exquisite Corpse' - subsequent outfits sliced, diced and mixed the elements from each into seemingly endless permutations, each a triptych of historicism, futurism and the here-and-now. Ruched Polinaise skirts emerged under pleated peplums, themselves slicing across short bolero jackets, pouf sleeves ended in tailored cuffs and crin panniers jutted over linear chiffon skirts. Chainmail made an appearance, as did Grecian drapery, and prints of glinting jewels and rosepetals were sliced open and meshed together. Conceptual shenanigans can often make or break a fashion show. The most successful are those which, while enriching the understanding of an accomplished visual display, can be disregarded entirely for the pure pleasure of aesthetics. Schwab's S/S 2010 collection achieved this rare balance. Lightbulbs pinged above heads as the audience referenced his show notes, but - the true litmus test - they were perfectly happy to enjoy the visual display without. You didn't need a heavyweight intellectual tract to appreciate Schwab's purity of line, and his innovative reinvention and rejuvenation of the full-length formal frock. At the end of the day, the clothes could, and should, really speak for themselves. After all, isn't that what fashion's all about?
Conceptual shenanigans can often make or break a fashion show.