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Vienna Insight
by Karin Sawetz, publisher Fashionoffice
(10 April 2014)

Marios Schwab reflects for Swarovski about the light and dark sides of femininity

Yesterday, I attended the press-tour of Marios Schwab's installation 'Chiarascura' at Swarovski Wien. The new collaboration between the London-based designer Marios Schwab and Swarovski was announced already in early March - but without any closer information about title and theme of the fashion-art-crystal installation at Swarovski stores in Vienna and Innsbruck. Around three hours before Swarovski opened the doors for the press-tour in Vienna, the company published via Facebook some images from behind the scene of Marios Schwab working at the installation. On one of the images, he looks like he just has beaten the crystals out of the mountain and incorporates them - still encircled by the dust of the stone work, into one of his couture dresses.

The press-tour started one hour before the official opening and gave journalists the chance to take pictures and get more information about the collaboration. The tour started at the basement with introducing words by Marios Schwab who guided us through the three floors to five windows which are inspired by the play of light and shadows; the title of the exhibition is derived from the technical term from art 'Chiaroscuro' which was feminized by Marios Schwab into 'Chiarascura'.

My impression of the collaborative art project by Marios Schwab and Swarovski: It's not made for quick consumption. Take time for the store windows which are equipped inside with videos, spoken text and music and enjoy even the surrounding environment of the store and streets which play their own roles in Marios Schwab's fashion-crystal installation about the light and dark sides of femininity.

fig. (left and below): Snapshots of the press-tour together with Marios Schwab at Swarovski Wien on 9 April 2014. The fashion-art-crystal project 'Chiarascura' is installed on two of the three floors of the Swarovski store at Kärntner Strasse 24 in Vienna and will be on view until autumn 2015.

Images below:
One of the ground floor windows with elevator in early 20th century Art Deco (Paris) or Jugendstil (Vienna) style, inside mannequins which wear bejeweled dresses. For this part of the Chiarascura installation, the designer was inspired by the women's feminist movement. Left beside the window with elevator, headphones and - not on view here, above the sound device, a video screen which delivers additional impressions; in this case a video of one of Marios Schwab's runway presentations.

Middle: Marios Schwab in front of the permanent installation by Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka (an 88 square metres surface of 16.000 mirrors which imitate the sparkles of crystals) on the escalator from the ground floor up to the next.

Left: Inside the window, three transparent black dresses with beautiful shiny necklaces are staged together with broken stones of sculptures of human bodies. The scenery points to the Imperial Crypt. For the dresses in combination with the shiny jewellery, Marios Schwab was inspired by the glamorous beauty of actress Marlene Dietrich. In combination with the Imperial Crypt, where the Austrian emporers are buried, the window evokes feelings of meaninglessness of beauty and power. It just looks as if Marios Schwab has incorporated a vanitas theme into his 'Chiarascura' installation at Swarovski Wien! Where there is light, there is also shadow.

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© since 1996 Sawetz