Erdem – Pre Spring/Summer 2016 Ready-To-Wear
Erdem Moralioglu was proudly showing off some flea market finds the other day—a Victorian photo album and a music box of the same vintage that played “God Save the Queen.” The items cued an undercurrent in his Resort 2016 collection, what he called “the way that certain decades look at other eras, the 1960s looking at Victoriana, or the ’70s looking at the ’20s.” Take one of the most simple yet striking pieces on show: a dress in a floral fil coupe. The Victorian details—a high collar, a white lace bib—were matched to a slim, drop-waist silhouette that was the essence of the Swinging ’60s. Then Erdem added his own signature oddness: The fil coupe was inside out, the lace bib was raw-edged. So what looked at first glance to be quite prim and proper was, on closer inspection, slightly unhinged. If you needed backup for this first impression, it was right there on the mood board, where Goldie Hawn’s arch kookiness shared space with Catherine Deneuve’s sister Françoise Dorléac and Loulou de la Falaise in her pre-YSL days—every one of those women an embodiment of the ’60s stylish iconoclasm.
There was an edge of that spirit in Erdem’s lineup. As fiercely disciplined as he is, he has proved himself a past master of knowing just when to let go. So a “waistless” (a word he used often when talking about the clothes) shift in black leather bonded to pink satin was embellished with a big ruffle that snaked around the dress. That same detail was a distinguishing feature on a white poplin blouse. Paired with black culottes, it was a severe counterpoint to the designer’s signature florals. But even those flowers weren’t straight up. What looked like embroidery on one dress turned out to be digital prints stitched onto the fabric. A sheer latex trench printed with flowers that were of no known genus was a standout piece. Erdem has truly mastered the dark floral arts in his embellishments.
He loves that tension: the sweet, the slightly sinister. That’s how a single story can embrace pretty pale gazars and laser-cut neoprenes. But for all that, what really stood out here was the calmness of the clothes. Despite the high necks, the clerical collars, the Swiss lace bibs, even the couture-ish gowns with the cape backs, this might have been Erdem’s easiest collection yet. He even showed denim for the first time, needle-punched with a windowpane pattern. And when he talked about “permanence,” it was easy to imagine a flowing, tiered dress, lightly spaghetti-strapped at the shoulders, moving from this year’s red carpet to next summer’s garden party.