Thursday, May 21, 2009

Marios Schwab to move to Halston & to New York

Marios Schwab, one of London’s design darlings, was today named Design Director at Halston, following in the not entirely successful footsteps of relaunch designer, Marco Zanini. He will present his frst collection for the house for Fall 2010.

When Halston relaunched in New York for Fall 2008 (at the Feb 08 collections) to much fanfare with the fiscal backing of Tamara Mellon of Jimmy Choo and of The Weinstein Group, with input from Rachel Zoe, much was expected. In a first for a designer label, Net a Porter introduced an online exclusive of two of the key Halston runway looks, which were made available immediately after the show. They sold out.

Unfortunately the people who really mattered, the critics, were underwhelmed, and US retailers weren’t enthused, with Zanini's refusal to play to Halston’s design heritage cited as the reason for smaller than expected orders. (He produced a collection consisting of two thirds daywear pieces, rather than the expected eveningwear more commonly associated with the label, and refused to utilize the extensive Halston archive.)

By the summer when Zanini exited the label, rumors were swirling that Zoe was disenchanted with the label, after she failed to attend the inaugural collection, and there were little or no appearances by Zoe’s celeb clientele in Halston on the red carpet.

Zanini resurfaced at Rochas last November, but Halston remained rudderless until today’s appointment. Although Olivier Theyskens was rumoured to be a contender, the lack of sales of his critically acclaimed collections for Nina Ricci were unlikely to appeal to Halston.

Schwab, whose family comes from a bra manufacturing background, is known for his body conscious and detailed designs, which often focus on eveningwear. His brand of intelligent 21st century slink which sometimes seems to reference early 90’s Versace could be just the route that Halston needs to take into the future, whilst respecting the house’s past.

Halston, meanwhile, have listened to the retailers whose main criticism of Zanini’s two collections was the lack of Halston DNA. The label will attempt to cover its fiscal back with the Spring 2010 launch of the Halston Heritage collection. Featuring reproductions of archival Halston looks, it will speak directly to those retailers looking for recognizable Halston pieces at mid-range prices (thought to be comparable to Marc by Marc).