Erdem Moralioglu has been having a very good run lately. In September he sent out a collection pretty much universally acclaimed as his best ever. And earlier this month Moralioglu was named Womenswear Designer of the Year by the BFC in London—an award soon followed by a splashy dinner celebrating Erdem at Art Basel in Miami Beach. What with the whirlwind tour of accolades, the pressure was on for Moralioglu to deliver another knockout performance this season—a pressure rather unfair, given that Pre-Fall isn’t really the platform for that sort of thing. Consider the situation metaphorically: An actor has a breakthrough role in an epic Hollywood drama, and his next flick on the release calendar happens to be an offbeat chamber piece. You have to apply a different metric to measure the success.
And this was very much an offbeat chamber piece of a collection. Pulling from a polyglot group of references—Diane Arbus’ uncanny portraits of twins; Japanese graphics; Romy Schneider; Death in Venice—Moralioglu delivered a group of clothes that replaced the operatic romanticism of Spring ’15 with a kind of macabre preppiness. Witness the fraying collar on a crepe peacoat, or mod white minidresses with Rorschach black embroidery. Feathers sprouted from a floral-embroidered dress. The snappiest looks here erred toward the youthful and graphic—dresses and knits in school-uniform red and navy, the crystal-crossed frocks and the ones done in a spectacular yet understated gray wool-silk check. Those looks were very appealing, but the collection reached a higher elevation when it conjured a more grown-up, aristocratic mood. Perhaps the standout look here was the trenchcoat in laser-cut felt, with a moody bonding of black lace. But the floral, pussy-bow gown was a close second, seductive and ghostly in its evanescence. Women don’t often wonder what they’d like to wear if called on to haunt a stately home, but that gown would be perfect. And in that sense, this collection did indeed repeat Erdem’s feat for Spring, insofar as it managed to merge creepy and beautiful in a signature, visually and texturally rich way. Whatever that vibe is, Erdem owns it now.