Sulky teenage stepdaughters left to their own devices in a Roman palazzo. That’s the romantic way of reading these pictures, to hear Erdem Moralioglu talking. Or, then again? What you’re actually observing here is a pair of models in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, demonstrating the extent of what Erdem is adding to his girly, ladylike line under the guise of “resort.” And that, would you believe, means stuff as technically un-cocktail-y as sweatshirts and trackpants, biker and bomber jackets, and leather-implanted sweaters. “I always use pre-collections to experiment,” he says. “To practice my handwriting in different ways. I wanted to extend the vocabulary of the day-things I do.”
For a young name pigeonholed as a dress designer, there are certainly a lot of pants in this collection satin pajama types, lace-smothered trackpants, fluid printed ones. There’s a black lace jumpsuit with a slouchy waist in there, too. The trick, of course, is the way he’s Erdem-ized these and every other item from an apparently alien casual aesthetic, so the black leather biker and pencil skirt are painted with flowers, and the leather-fronted sweater is studded with jeweled daisies.
The result adds more to the separates repertoire of Erdem’s growing brand, and to the strong headway he’s made into the American wardrobe in the short space of the eight years he’s been in business. As for the dressy and outright feminine, there’s the full spectrum: short printed cotton shifts for winter sun holidays, and tweedy day-dresses for urban November, bouncy matelassé full skirts with matching shell tops, and his signature flower-embroidered cocktail frocks and slim, floor-sweeping eveningwear. Yes, they all look coherent and believable on a young girl (sulky or not), when worn with the pointy, bow-implanted black-and-white loafers he’s producing with Nicholas Kirkwood. But what’s canny about Erdem’s point of view is its ability to appeal across age groups and, increasingly, beyond the limits of “special occasion.”
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Photos: Courtesy of ERDEM (via VOGUE)
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“I’ve always been quite afraid of the color black in my work,” said Erdem Moralioglu backstage before unveiling his ravishing collection, “but I liked the idea of doing ‘uncomfortable,’ reacting against myself, and seeing how many shades of black I could get in my show!”