Fashion designer Marios Schwab took the baton from the king of millinery, Philip Treacy, on April 10 this year, transforming the famously theatrical cubes—bay windows that project onto the street space and penetrate the exterior walls—at Swarovski Wien with a spectacular art installation entitled Chiarascura. Taking the art term ‘chiaroscuro’—the treatment of light and shade in painting and drawing—Schwab has feminized it in order to spotlight woman’s mystique. He explores her public and private faces, her dark and light sides, through powerful symbols such as the veil, the keyhole, the silhouette, and the Little Black Dress. Themes from antiquity and film noir, together with optical illusions, add to the surreal drama.
Schwab continues his investigation of mystery and contrast at Swarovski Innsbruck’s Chamber of Wonder: Female bodies move through oversize crystal forms, tantalizing the viewer, and ultimately concealing more than they reveal; nearby, the Mirrored Wall features illusory, jewel-like collars inspired by that iconic femme fatale of the silver screen, Marlene Dietrich.