As always, Erdem Moralioglu’s runway show for London Fashion Week transported us to a different era. For the basis of the Erdem spring/summer 2017 ready-to-wear collection, the era is pre-World War II, but naturally there was a great deal of inspiration derived from the 17th century, as is the designer’s signature.
Back in April, a dress dating back to the 17th century was discovered off The Netherlands’ coast by a group of divers. The dress was traced back to the Countess of Roxburghe Jean Ker, who was lady in waiting to Henrietta Maria, queen consort of England at the time. Her story, which Moralioglu fell in love with recounting, alleges that she was a spy set to pawn off the crown jewels on the Eve of the English Civil War to France.
“[Jean Ker] was a spy, really!” Erdem said backstage. “Anyways! I thought, too, about the beach in Deauville, and then I imagined Jean Ker’s army of women landing there in the 1930’s. Both the ’30s and the 1640’s were times [on the bring] of war. … I love the idea that her army and her women landed at Deauville’s beach in 1930. To me the show was about a landing. There was something so very interesting about the idea, these 1650 nipped-in jackets with these Deauville-y cropped trousers and these sun hats.”
Essentially, the Canadian designer honed in on his signature romantic sensibilities while adding in some classical-styled danger to account for the spy theme. The clothes were a mixture of sweet and romantic while edginess sparse yet apparent.
As the infamous dress in focus here was dredged up from the North Sea, Moralioglu was generous with his maritime imagery and detailing. Even away from the clothes in the line, the boardwalk runway was characterized by framed paintings of the rolling sea.
You have to grow to love and embrace Erdem’s excessive use of period clothing, even though it does take away a bit from the modern day wearability – but that aspect could not be less important. The designer has learned to embrace the prim side of fashion, so the designs might not be “ready-to-wear” for everyone, but they certainly belong as part of this ready-to-wear fashion week.
It’s because of that Victorian charm that the Erdem spring 2017 collection was especially light and feminine, if you don’t pay attention to the heavy platform footwear, and had a wistful dreaminess about it, which added to the drama of the story-theme the show was based on.
We weren’t surprised to see off-the-shoulder numbers, since they’ve been everywhere this season, but here it was the accessories that pulled us in. The dramatic, pulled down hats that bolstered the spy cover theme, simple ribbons, and oversized earrings with large pearls spanned the two eras this collection encompassed.
Photos courtesy of Vogue