Erdem Moralioglu said lockdown gave people some stark choices: “You could either freeze and stop, or think about the future — and design a new collection.”
Conceived, produced and shot under lockdown conditions, this collection drew on Georgian-era and Sixties-inspired dressing. Erdem Moralioglu — who reopened his Mayfair shop last week and returned to his London studio, working at a safe distance from colleagues — said both eras were marked with progress, enlightenment and experimentation.
The designer created the collection at home with help from Zoom, and had the images shot in Epping Forest, on the edges of London. It was clear he was thinking about liberty, optimism, gulps of fresh air and celebrating nature. In an interview, Moralioglu said lockdown gave people a stark choice: “You could either freeze and stop, or think about the future — and design a new collection.”
The collection is lavish, dreamy — and full of contrasts. Structure came in the form of pouf sleeves on floral dresses or a white top with a high collar. Dandy-ish black bowties jazzed up stiff grosgrain belts and skinny trouser suits, one done in red corduroy, reminiscent of all those eligible, uniformed officers in novels by Jane Austen.
The collection embraced more languid silhouettes, too, including oversize, mohair cardigans knitted in Scotland during lockdown; a long and diaphanous dress scattered with red flowers, and a silk georgette gown with a built-in cape twinkling with silver sequins. This beautiful, classic collection was built to transcend fashion.
With London lifting the dreary restrictions of past months, Moralioglu is more than ready to move on: He began showing the collection to retailers this week at his London store, proffering masks he designed himself, and keeping everyone at an appropriate distance.
He’s also been talking with stores and industry peers about how the fashion system can move forward, “with clothing sold and available to customers at the right time, and making sure that markdowns are not too early,” he said.
His plans for London’s September shows remain in limbo, and Moralioglu said his challenge right now is thinking of ways to communicate his spring 2021 narrative to the customer. “There is no doubt this is a very challenging time, but I definitely feel we’re going to move into the next chapter in a more agile way, with an understating of what the customer really needs.”