What pretty things Erdem Moralioglu is strewing in our paths for resort so pretty that it makes visiting him for a cup of tea at his headquarters in east London a ridiculously tantalizing way to spend an hour. Picture it: Erdem, in his minuscule showroom with rails packed with spotted gazar, flowered lace, ruffles, and bouncy flounces, his model peeking from behind a screen in the corner, ready to get dressed, and you politely fighting a ravening urge to jump up, ransack the racks, and shove your feet into his pointy, floral-appliquéd shoes right there and then.
The only downside to this sensory immersion in Erdem-ness is that it makes it a touch difficult to hear what he’s saying which is something along the lines of “The artist’s wife, the artist as muse, muse as artist,” and wanting to concentrate on the work of “the human hand.” To reinforce the arty message, he shot his resort lookbook in the drawing studio of his alma mater, the Royal College of Art in Kensington. He points out that that chintzy floral motif, appliquéd onto a tulle bodice and decorating a boxy coat, is “reappropriated, redrawn and redrawn” from a fragment of antique fabric he found in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s archives. The bold, vigorous black-and-white flower embroideries smothering an organdy shirtdress have, he instructs, been “scribbled as if with a marker pen.”
Whatever it’s all delicious and extra-piquant, because this is the kind of deliciousness that is served with the built-in practicality and sanity that is Erdem all over. His ability to indulge in the makings of frou-frou and femininity, yet not make his customers feel like untouchable china dolls, is a real talent. He knows exactly where his customers young girls to the agelessly elegant are likely to go in his light, tweedy trenches, his just-below-the-knee dresses and skirts, and the long dresses with the side pockets he always puts in.
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Photo Credit/Source: The House of ERDEM
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Visits to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and to the costume holdings of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum started Erdem Moralioglu thinking about imperial treasures. In Vienna, he was dazzled by a roomful of Diego Velazquez’s portraits of the “extraordinary infantas” who married into the Habsburg dynasty or more specifically, by the artist’s depictions of their armorial bodices and stiff stomachers and the illusion they presented of flattened shapes.