"I went to town this season," said Erdem Moralioglu backstage after his show. "From the beginning, I decided to just go all the way with what I love." Throwing off mental and even commercial constraints is a brave thing to do in a darkening economic moment, but the intense flare-up of color, embroidery, and bejeweling this designer laid on may be the very thing that confirms his future.
Why so? For the first time, he marshaled a collection that was completely together, stamped with distinct and confident personalitya love of whimsy in a young but couture-ish idiomand underpinned by attentively serviced sponsorship deals. He'd talked Taroni silks into providing lushly colored lengths of double duchesse, and he'd worked on lime, purple, acid yellow, and orange prints that "looked blurry, like a landscape speeding past when you're on a train." The fabrics turned into short dresses with dance skirts, covered-up cocktail suits with flat bows detailing stand-up necklines and belts, and dramatic strapless gownspieces made all the more outstanding with over-embroidery and padding (hand-done by Jenny King, a friend in Brighton), and scattered chunks of asymmetric gumdrop-colored Swarovski crystals.
Worked in, too, was cream lace from the French manufacturer Sophie Halette (a long-standing relationship) and raincoats representing Erdem's continuing consultancy with Mackintosh (trenchcoats with lace in two cases). It made for a dramatic show of integrated ideas that left the audience with the memorable final image of a funnel-collared gown, smothered with jeweled embroidery in the bodice, dropping to the floor in a gorgeous length of purple moiré silk. Bravo.