Erdem Moralioglu’s muse this season was Eileen Agar, the British-Argentinian Surrealist painter and photographer who spent a career taking everyday, found objects from life and nature, and transforming them into something she deemed mysterious, and unconventional.
The designer blended Agar’s approach with his own feminine aesthetic for a collection that felt homespun and glamorous.
Silhouettes were drawn from Agar’s heyday of the 1930s and 1940s, with long and short flowery dresses layered with cozy knits, high white collars, long bows knotted at the neck and elbow-length leather gloves.
Knits and gloves were embellished with pearl buttons, some in the shape of flowers.
Other embellishments included leaves, like black moths, spilling across a long, pink lacy dress, while long dresses and short coats were fashioned from bunches of handmade silk roses.
The designer paired the latter with knee socks and mannish, buckle-front flat shoes, part of a wider footwear collection that Erdem is selling exclusively from the brand’s South Audley Street shop, and via the website.
Dresses and skirts made from a patchwork of contrasting patterns nodded to Agar’s surreal works of art, as did the polka dots — large, small and medium-sized — that popped across dresses and skirts. Those dizzying dots were reminiscent of another 20th-century artist with a Surrealist bent, Yayoi Kusama.
Old world glamour came in the shape of crystal and pearl-encrusted embellishments on a pale frost-blue slip dress and duchess satin gowns, and in the form of columnar sequined skirts and dresses with draped sleeves.
There was a mashed-up joy to this collection that showed off so many unlikely pairings.
Moralioglu teamed a fuzzy cardigan and white ruffle-front top with a sparkly sequin skirt, woolly gray tights and white buckle shoes. It was Marilyn Monroe-meets-Virginia Woolf — thought-provoking, and suitable, for these surreal days.