Are the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements to blame with their red-carpet protests? There’s been a lot of black, and echoes of Victoriana, on the London runways this season, with Erdem Moralioglu the latest designer to embrace the darkness in his beautiful, if melancholy, show.
Channeling the spirit of the American dancer Adele Astaire, sister of Fred and widow of Lord Charles Cavendish, Moralioglu sent dark, flowery jacquard dresses, sheer black polka dot veils and inky furs down the narrow corridors of the National Portrait Gallery in London, which served as his show venue this season.
“Adele married the son of the Duke of Devonshire and he died very early on in the marriage. Every year after that, she would visit Lismore, the Irish castle where she’d lived with her husband. I was obsessed by this idea of this woman who keeps coming back year after year,” the designer related backstage.
He worked that obsession into dark coats, capes and dresses with gold and silvery flowers, some styled with dark polka dot tights, face veils or long gloves. He laid the same veil-like fabric over a floor-sweeping yellow or pink dresses, too, or paired it with velvet for a long dress with a dark flower at the throat.
Some color came into play in the form of long and slim bejeweled velvet dresses in gold and rose, and a yellow prom dress, with a thick maroon cardigan thrown over it. A clutch of Delft blue dresses came dotted with dangling trinkets. Moralioglu let in even more light with a fizzy lineup of silver sequined skirts and dresses clearly inspired by the Astaire’s happier days on the vaudeville circuit.