LONDON — For the better part of three years, Marios Schwab has been focusing on the female element of Zeus + Dione, the Athens-based ready-to-wear label cofounded by Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotakis, an investor, champion of local craftsmanship, and the wife of Greece’s prime minister.
Schwab’s clothing and accessories collections for the label have been a hit, selling at stores including Net-a-porter, Matchesfashion and Neiman Marcus, and he knew it was time to take the next step and launch menswear.
“I thought — hold on — the collection is called Zeus and Dione. So where’s Zeus in all this?” said Schwab, referring to the fearsome king of the gods of ancient Greece.
A cream linen double-breasted blazer and embroidered shirt from Marios Schwab’s new menswear collection for Zeus + Dione.
“I was taking everything step by step, but I thought the 10-year anniversary of the brand was the perfect time to bring in menswear,” Schwab said in a video interview from Athens.
The half-Austrian, half-Greek Schwab joined the label as creative director in 2020 in the thick of the pandemic. He moved back to Athens and has dedicated himself to Zeus + Dione after putting his signature label, and other consultancies, on hold.
His first menswear collection debuted for resort 2024, and embodies his and the founders’ original mission to highlight, and preserve, Greek craft.
The new collection showcased his work with Athenian tailors, who helped him create fluid, wide-leg trousers and roomy double-breasted jackets. It also highlighted his collaboration with local shirtmakers on styles that Greek men wore from the 1920s through the 1940s.
The collection’s jacquard woven silk, and silk cotton, fabrics tapped into the traditions of the town of Soufli in northeastern Greece, while certain textures and patterns were inspired by the traditional clothing of the sponge divers of Kalymnos.
Schwab also looked to the gold and silversmithing heritage of Ioannina in the northwestern part of the country and to the coppersmith workshops in Piraeus and northern Greece.
He worked copper into hardware and wove gold and metallic silver threads into many of the pieces, including a citrine shirt with rolled sleeves that was as rich and warm as a summer sunset.
A look from Marios Schwab’s new menswear collection for Zeus + Dione.
The season’s narrative, he said, “started with the sound of tools, and with the craftsmen and women who to this day have been preserving artisanal traditions in the different regions of Greece,” Schwab said.
The designer also looked to what he calls the “golden era of Greek craftsmanship, poetry, literature, music of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.”
Black-and-white images of the Greek people and landscape by Irving Penn, Erwin Blumenfeld and the female photographers Voula Papaioannou and Nelly’s, also offered inspiration.
Schwab’s menswear collection, which debuted alongside women’s during a show in the port of Piraeus, Athens, sat at the crossroads of east and west.
Elegant pinstripe suits came with wide-leg trousers and open collar shirts with artisanal embroideries from an atelier in Argos.
A double-breasted cream linen jacket was paired with crinkly harem-like pants. Other suits were cinched at the waist with narrow belts and had military rigor, while some formal jackets were fastened with a single, silvery button.
While tailoring played a big role, there was a strong workwear element, too.
Models wore roomy trousers, white shirts with the sleeves rolled high on the arm, and scarves knotted around the necks. In some cases, Schwab finished off the looks with closed or open-toe sandals, cross-body bags with tassels, and Mykonian fisherman’s caps.
A runway look from Marios Schwab’s debut menswear collection for Zeus + Dione.
Schwab said he’ll be doing coed collections going forward and they will always weave Greek artisanal traditions together with a modern approach to dress.
He’s proud to be making these collections and it’s clear that he loves communing with the tailors and artisans.
“You need to win their respect in order to get into their world and once you do that, once you have a connecting point, it’s such a beautiful thing. You learn so much from them, but I hope they can learn also from us and our synergies,” Schwab said.
He likes working with older artisans, in particular, and said he’s hoping to inspire younger generations to take their heritage seriously and to preserve Greece’s artisanal skills in the face of rapid-fire tech developments and industrialization.
“This is something that is very close to me. I look at the Athenian streets sometimes and it’s exciting to see all of the new hotels, but then you take a closer look inside and the aesthetic is ‘globalized,’ and [not Greek], which is a shame,” Schwab. said
He believes it’s important for Greece to “preserve its aesthetic values and the characteristics that signify us,” said Schwab, who’ll continue to keep Zeus, and his wardrobe, top of mind.