Erdem's Resort collection started out primly enough. Mr. Moralioglu was mulling over "codes of femininity": the polka dot, the ruffle, the
flower—elements he's used over and over in the past. But then his inner voice was overpowered by a willful spirit of fabulous fashion vandalism. "How can I fuck them up?" he asked himself. OK, don't get too excited Erdem's Resort was hardly the descent into delicious chaos his note to self implied, but his yen to mess with things did produce a couple of the best pieces he's ever shown—an overcoat with an engineered floral print that looked like it had been attacked with white paint and a tuxedo with the same effect, though it was more dipped than splashed. It was the roughness of these things that made them so attractive. Likewise the polka dots, which were more like organic smears; the organza, whose florals seemed to be thickly outlined with black Magic Marker (actually embroidery); and the unlined, almost raggedy tweed coat worn inside out. Erdem mentioned as reference points the photographs of Alex Prager and Vivian Maier, with their sense of interrupted narrative. It was as though something violent had just happened to these clothes.
And yet Erdem was also insisting that Resort is the most straightforward of collections for him: "It's where I really get an opportunity to explore who my woman is, by day, by night." That duality was exemplified in one dress that, coming, was a frothy mille-feuille of frayed white organza, and, going, was black crepe with a sturdy zip running up its spine. And it was also present in the feminine versus masculine aspect of a bib-front white lace dress, the tuxedo jackets that the designer casually draped over almost everything, and the footwear he favored. When you pair a dress in extravagantly ruffled gazar with brogues by Nicholas Kirkwood, oddness ensues.
Erdem's pursuit of oddness—or "wrongness"—in his clothes would hardly bear mentioning again if it weren't for the fact that it yielded such major dividends this time round. His career seems to have developed a rhythm—one collection proposes precise, almost prissy perfection (the Eisenhower chic of this outing's navy jacquard dress and matching coat being one example), and the next takes it to pieces. Like the decoupaged guipure here. Or the casual iconoclasm of the eveningwear. A brocade silk gown was in a shade of lime so washed out that it could have spent hours in the rinse cycle. Another dress was made from lace that mimicked sporty Airtex. Odd, but refreshingly so, because it was so unlikely. And that's Erdem at his best.