Sun, February 17 2019 » Fashion Blog
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.
Tue, September 20 2016 » Fashion Blog
The absorbing depiction of the Parisian apartment of a fictional art collector created by Robin Brown for Helly Nahmad Gallery’s Frieze Masters The Collector, acted as the conceptual impetus for Autumn Winter 2015. A masterful study of character through environment, the notion of building a narrative around a muse captured Erdem’s imagination.
A sense of broken down decorum surrounds his protagonist for the season, the world in which she exists is one of faded glamour where vestiges of an affluent past merge curiously with undeniably modern elements, her wardrobe an amalgamation of decades. The collection acts as a visual memoir of her life through an intense colour palette of regal purple and jewel like hues, applied in offbeat pairings, echoing her peculiarity of character.
The aristocratic richness of materials within the collection is tempered through elements of rawness. Suggestions of loss of grandeur is expressed through metallic jacquards, oddly reversed to expose a textural underside as if through thrifty repurposing, its traditional floral chine intensified through garish accents now revealed. Elsewhere mid-century dress making techniques are explored with pinked antique jacquard cut by hand and then re-stitched to achieve a collage effect, distressed texture found within its fragmentary composition.
A nod to the romance and realism of Visconti’s A Conversation Piece, Erdem explores the clash of culture within her world through transitional pieces where needle punch techniques allow a blending of opposing fabrics; a utilitarian camel coat in weighty wool seamlessly melding with and unexpected rich and ornamental jacquard. Elsewhere luxuriant leopard printed fur coat, an imagined 1950s heirloom, is seemingly and incongruously patched with a wild 1970s shearling back.
Throughout, her imagined surroundings are implied, oval and damask motifs suggestive of stylistic 1960s wallpaper are applied to textural cloque and elsewhere found as guipure lace where delicate contours are engineered around the body, high necked on an organza base to emphasise form in dramatic bold colour combinations. These baroque, sculpted silhouette garments are paired with equestrian inspired boots by Nicholas Kirkwood, underlining the odd, irrational style of Erdem’s muse.
A theme of reveal and conceal, allowing an underlining sensuality from outwardly ladylike designs, continues with the damask motif applied to cutwork midi length, long sleeved leather dresses whilst a rose crested fil coupe balances short hemmed translucency with embroidery-panelled laced ankle-boots and an ostensibly Victorian ruffled high neck – a nod to the contradiction within our muse.
Elsewhere uninhibited short skirts of distressed fil coupe diaphanous dresses are matched with Watteau backs and flounced mini dresses in thread patchwork come to life with phosphorous accents and ostrich feathers, redolent of a spirited Claudia Cardinale character.
This allusion to the golden age of Alta Moda is interrupted and cleverly juxtaposed with the glacially restrained silhouette of the classic Hitchcock anti-heroine form, lending an urbane air through pencil skirted suiting and rounded shoulder outerwear worthy of Kim Novak. The theme of texture continues through tailoring, with hounds tooth Italian tweed left raw and frayed.
The irreverent nature of our muse and her transitory world is epitomised in a speckled narrow engineered rib knit, transmuting seamlessly into a fil coupe gown of unexpected volume and adorned with ostrich in a declaration of tenacity, achieving enduring allure through adversity.
Thu, March 5 2015 » Fashion Blog