In 1642, during troubled times in an unstable England, a ﬂeet of twelve ships set sail for The Netherlands to deliver Princess Mary to her husband William of Orange. It was the eve of the English Civil War. On one of the boats was Jean Kerr, Duchess of Roxburgh and lady—in—waiting to Queen Henrietta Maria, consort of King Charles I of England. Kerr had a covert mission to sell England’s crown jewels in order to raise money for the Royalist cause. Her boat sank off the Dutch coast before she could complete her mission.
300 years later we find Erdem’s woman at the moment she lands on the shores of 1930s Deauville in northern France. She is part of an army of women that has landed here with the sense of a mission. There is an urgency and a tension in her promenade across the boardwalk at Les Planches. She has survived and been revived, with a fragile but determined spirit of strength: her mission today is a different kind of liberation.
Her wardrobe hints at her belonging to another time in history, with cuts, materials, colours and motifs that remember 1650s England. They have been tempered with the louche, ﬂowing freedom of 1930s Deauville fashions. The juxtaposition of formality and informality is striking. She is almost dishevelled, but powerful still. Elements of 1650s English fashion become something different in 1930s Deauville: undergarments become sundresses, bustier cuts feel like bikinis, distressed tweeds, brocades and fill coupé necklines, with ripped organza details sewn—in, feel regal with a hint of impropriety.
Across the collection there is delicacy and tension of structure unravelling. Her clothes swing from ﬂoating shipwrecked dresses in tulle and chiffon, to weightier more structured outfits cut to fall from her shoulders. Effervescent chiffon dresses, made up of strips that unravel as they reach the ground, feel ethereal alongside frothy printed voile shirt—dresses with spiralling, asymmetric hems. Bolder red, blue and yellow lace tulle dresses appear like military banners from forgotten times. Ottoman with distorted effects, patchwork dresses, mille—feuille rufﬂes and frayed tweeds add layers of deconstructed texture.
Cropped army jackets and taffeta jacquard dresses with hand—embroidered motifs are a subtle suggestion of her bygone role. Crowns, bows, and cross insignia appear across the embroideries, together with the Roman numeral XII, in reference to the twelve ships that set out to sea. She is wearingjewels that might have been rescued or stolen, heavy mismatched earrings and hat pins that become brooches. Haunting hand—moulded black panama sunhats, with irregular pie crust edges, shield her identity as much as the sun.
The shoes she wears to stalk the boardwalk are a combination of 16505 shapes with a modern edge, in silk jacquard, snakeskin and suede. Platforms from the 17th Century and historic court slippers feel oddly contemporary. She has landed at a time when war is once again on the horizon. The days of high summer here are tinged with tension, but for now she has survived and she feels courageous, whatever tomorrow may hold.
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