Erdem Moralıoğlu only had to roll out of bed to find his fall collection narrative: The designer recently moved into a Georgian house in London, only to discover it was previously a “home of hope” in Victorian times — a refuge for fallen and “friendless” women.
Given that his shows usually reference fascinating women from a broad sweep of history, you can imagine his delight discovering a racy illustration of bare buttocks inside the fireplace, and documentation about two intoxicated residents who found themselves locked out one night and decided to incite a riot.
The unearthing in one room of arsenic green wallpaper — the kind that might have driven its occupant mad — further fed the designer’s imagination and the concept of women come undone.
Undone is a relative term with Moralıoğlu, prized for his meticulously crafted dresses with a historical bent. Stripping out the preponderance of leg-of-mutton sleeves, and gloves that delivered this effect, the fall collection felt a tad less period-costume, more heirloom-dressing this season.
The patchy lighting in his pitch-black venue certainly helped one imagine his fallen protagonists, hair drenched, trying to sneak back into their home of hope past curfew. But it did not foster full appreciation of the intricate jet-bead embroideries on coats, the elegant decaying hems of his metallic brocade skirts, and the watery floral prints for full-skirted dresses.
Tearing a page out of the Miu Miu handbook, Moralıoğlu cropped tuxedo shirts down to little boleros, and hacked down his Aran sweaters to little tummy-baring toppers, embellishing his with lace and more jet embroideries.
The show opened with mostly black trench coats and riding jackets, suggesting mourning, and gradually accrued more decoration and color, including acid greens and deep purples. “Dissolving into a hallucinogenic kind of reverie,” the designer enthused.