Erdem Moralıoğlu’s collection for spring was one of his prettiest and dreamiest yet, born of his love of all things historical, his appreciation for the art of dressmaking and the formidable finesse of his London-based house.
Instead of his usual narrative exalting stylish cultural figures of yore, the designer hooked up with restoration experts at some of London’s most important art institutions: The British Museum, Tate, the V&A and the National Gallery. He and his design team marveled at the complex tulle structure needed to revive an 18th-century embroidered gown, and the science and patience required to bring back to life a 15th-century oil painting.
Consequently, his spring show hop-scotched across centuries and decades, touching on Belle Époque extravagance, the New Look, the Roaring ’20s and more.
Indeed, Moralıoğlu was so taken with the entire restoration ecosystem that he even referenced the dust covers employed to protect rare objects; topping many of his dresses with a ghostly layer of sheer, fluttering fabric.
Some models were in full veil, giving off bridal airs in white; funereal in black, especially the shrouded black Bar jacket and long skirt that opened the show, an homage to Queen Elizabeth II. (Her presence could also be felt in the predominant midcentury couture silhouettes, and such regal touches as trains and shoulder drapes.)
There was an heirloom quality to many of the fabrics — faded brocades, tea-stained cotton faille and jacquard remnants — which heightened the romantic, precious appeal of the clothes. But there was also plenty for the modern gal, including crisp shirtdresses and body-hugging dresses with sexy corset bodices.
Backstage, Moralıoğlu noted that he also employed some cutting-edge technologies, digitally printing an Old Masters floral motif on a frayed, almost disintegrated fabric shaped into a car coat. “Like a Dutch painting that was just coming apart,” he enthused.