The Erdem woman has always been clearly defined. She’s a lady who lunches, a gallery curator, a writer, a high-flying CEO. Erdem Moralioglu is probably the most consistent designer at London Fashion Week. He may contribute to the ubiquity of cocktail wear, but it’s not just cocktail wear. There’s an undoubted intelligence and depth to his work; from sourcing of inspiration, to the theatrical display of a collection.
Once again, the Canadian-born, London-based designer collaborated with production designer and artistic director Robin Brown to create a wondrous set. Crammed with chandeliers, decadent seating—a grandiose affair. Inspired by Hitchcock, 1940s opera designer Oliver Messel’s love for the ornate, Cecil Beaton’s love for country house parties, the scene was perfectly set. The room was filled with trellis archways, a polar bear model sheathed in dusty linens, chandeliers, giant dahlia’s, balustrades, cartouches and the like. Models strutted to the soundtrack of All About Eve, adding a further snapshot of yore. Encapsulating audiences prior to the first model hitting the runway is a difficult task, but a magnificent set design has the ability to just that. And in the case of Erdem, the clothes are never overshadowed.
1920s shifts, 1930s bias-cut gowns, 1940s tailoring were on the agenda for the season. Shimmering embellishments, crushed velvet, floral print, detailed lacework, a venture into houndstooth, and the heavily-Instagrammed gold fringe. The models appeared to be wrapped in an iridescent layer of gold or silver, floating down the catwalk, stepping out of films from a bygone era.
Erdem references the past in a unique way. His stamp is unmistakeable, whether it be through shape or fabrication, it’s clear that you’re viewing a collection from him. He’s also found the symbiosis between fashion design and set design. A modern-day Dietrich or Gertrude Lawrence would be clamouring for a chance to play a part in Erdem’s theatre. Theatre is a huge facet of Erdem’s work. There was the grand piano of spring 2014, the collaborations with Brown commencing with fall 2015; his work is enriched by the addition of theatricality. And as I previously stated, that’s not problematic where he is concerned, because he is capable of merging two worlds to strengthen his output. He’s a superb showman, and London is lucky to be graced with his presence.
Photo Credit: footwearnews.com, robinbrown.studio.com