Erdem perfects the art of storytelling every season
Showing how re-purposing can be done to couture-like levels
Astute observers of todays show will have noted the designers choice to continue the story of Deborah (or Debo as she was affectionately known), the late Duchess of Devonshire, which was started in his pre-spring collection, and described as a prologue to today’s show. Using the way in which she “defied all stereotypes” there was a careful deconstruction of many of the designers key silhouettes which gave them a new energy. Being in the privileged position to have been granted access to Chatsworth House – as well as the estates archives – Erdem was able to revitalise the heritage of the Duchess and her restoration efforts, by creating a number of the looks in the collection from “chintz curtain remnants” and “antique textiles” according to the show notes. It is not often a designer is able to weave the history which is a constant source of reference into their work, but for Erdem the opportunity was a chance to show how re-purposing could be used to facilitate storytelling, in this case, his brand and her legacy.
And who would have thought that a Rock-and-Roll legend such as Elvis would have been on the designers 2024 moodboard. Given his love for ostentatious (almost gaudy) stage costumes, bejewelled and encrusted as they were with studs and gems. But simply harnessed as a reference point for an oversized biker, it actually worked as a edgier addition to all the beauty on display, especially when rendered in petrol blue and grass green.
The visual and physical appeal of tactility was also a key factor within the collection, as textiles have always had an important role to play within the designers creative process. As well as embedding true value in his designs, here brocades enlivened with metallic silver lurex, slip dresses with audible embellishments (you could hear the satisfying jingle of thousands of sequins and crystals clinking together as the models walked past), and demure cardigans with contrast stitching left to trail as unintentional fringing, continued to showcase how the occasionwear category is in safe hands as long as Erdem is at the cutting table.
Not often seen in his work, the graphic spliced print of the actual Chatsworth House was a fitting tribute, but also gave the dresses and skirts they were applied to an almost rebellious modern art slant, that is sure to make them collectors’ items among the upper echelons of the brands customer base.
THE BUZZWORDS Repurposed Remnants. Rock & Royalty. Modern Occasion.
Look # 1 An opera coat for a new era, Erdem manages to create a piece that would be desirable for all occasions as he combined the comfort of quilting, with authentic repurposed vintage (curtain remnants). There was also a collaboration with Barbour, that most British of brands, which gave the traditional idea of the opera coat a new utilitarianism, more in keeping with todays customers needs.
THE ON-BRAND FACTOR
THE BRAND EVOLUTION
I was inspired by the story of Deborah Mitford, the late Duchess of Devonshire, known as Debo. She was incredibly resourceful, she brought Chatsworth [House] back to life after the war. She was as at home at state occasions and balls as she was working with farmers on the estate. There was an incredible dichotomy to her life, she would pair workwear- shirts and kilts with couture coats. The idea that inspired me the most was the history of the house and how Debo dressed as she restored it
Erdem Moralioglu speaking exclusively to The Impression on his pre-spring 2024 collection, which he called the prelude to todays show.
THE WRAP UP
There is a definitive theme running through London, of looking internally. Peeling away the layers, and getting back to the foundations, and with his summer 2024 collection Erdem utilised the original aesthetic layers which made the Duchess’ Chatsworth House a home. Creating new iterations of his own hyper-feminine aesthetic from curtain remnants and antique textiles.
And as a number of young designers in the city tackle the reinvention of the evening wear category, the designer proves there is much more mileage in the niche he has carved for himself. Especially as accessories are still an avenue yet to be fully explored, so here’s hoping those pillows carried by the models make it to retail as his first offering of handbags.