In contemporary fashion lingo, Resort conjures up an image of a leisured, slightly luxe getaway. For Erdem, it evoked something much closer to home this season. He found inspiration in his mother's old holiday snaps, where the getaway was more likely to be to a bed-and-breakfast in Blackpool: net curtains, Formica floors, "naff" fifties patterns on upholstery and wallpaper. It was a curiously downbeat launchpad for a designer whose clothes are more typically the embodiment of dressed-up precision, and yet it seemed to free Erdem to forge on into bold new territory, for him at least. "Fall was so nipped and tense," he said of his last collection. Here, that tension evaporated in the refreshingly slouchy simplicity of baggy pants paired with an oversize tee, or a utilitarian boilersuit, or an oversize jumper worn with a skirt abbreviated at mid-thigh. Erdem's princess had been infected by an air of untucked tomboyishness. "That dual girl-boy element just felt right," he said, even if his bemused tone suggested he wasn't quite sure why.
But the "why" was quite clear in the effervescent essence of the clothes themselves. If Blackpool in the fifties was on his mind, it was, mercifully, another time and place that came through: The big loose shirt over slacks, with pointy bowed little flats, could have been Babe Paley on holiday…or Gidget on the beach. Of course, this being Erdem, that shirt came in an exquisite gazar, just like the baggy pants were in silk cady, the tee organza, the boilersuit washed satin, and the miniskirt a buttery leather.
But the ghost of Blackpool artfully hovered. The transparency of lace and organza was, in Erdem's mind, suggestive of the sheer curtains of the small hotels where his mum might have stayed on her holidays. Likewise, the jacquards echoed the patterns of wallpaper and seaside tearoom tablecloths. In that light, a sinister green tweed felt like a weird take on uptight fifties matrons. Such unpromising reference points should by rights add up to something dour, even grim, but Erdem is, after all, a designer who repeatedly insists that nothing is as right as when it's "wrong," so it wasn't really surprising when he claimed the downbeat as experimental threads in a liberated new outlook. And it was ultimately less "wrongness" than an absolutely upbeat rightness that defined a floral-print cotton shift whose streamlined freshness actually evoked the gorgeous Jean Shrimpton in her earliest photographs with David Bailey, just before the sixties really started to swing. Nicholas Kirkwood's flats and Linda Farrow's slightly sci-fi sunglasses beautifully elaborated on the mood.