After the fire of his Fall collection, Erdem Moralioglu opted for a cool blue Spring. With the music from In the Mood for Love as his soundtrack, he wanted to evoke a dreamy mood, a reverie with an underlying thrum of eroticism much more subtle than his previous outing. So he imagined a young girl, perhaps the stepdaughter of last season's woman scorned, trying on adult clothes (her mother's off-the-shoulder sheath, her father's white shirt), just edging into self-awareness. This interplay between innocence and experience produced an outfit as sweet as a camisole and shorts, as worldly as a fitted knit ensemble, and as drop-dead gorgeous as a pleated floral skirt that glinted with a second skin of paillettes. And Moralioglu couldn't have found a better physical embodiment of his concept than Anais Pouliot, the model who opened and closed the show.
The actual reference he cited was Françoise Sagan's melancholic Bonjour Tristesse (the little boater in the show just the sort of hat you'd imagine 17-year-old Cécile sporting in the novel). Typical of Moralioglu, that instantly added an ambiguous twist to the story he was telling with his clothes. Sagan's heroine may have been young, but she was also complicit in a grown-up tragedy. "Seen and unseen" were the designer's words to acknowledge clothes that, for all their seeming decorum, were "more undressed, more décolleté, more skin, nape, and spine" than ever before. Maximum use of Sophie Hallette's lace meant that dresses had the revealing lightness of lingerie. It reached its fullest flowering with sheer lace evening dresses lined in nude organza.
Speaking of flowers—the designer's signature—he'd given tropical exotica and banal old wallpaper patterns (the second time today they provided inspiration for a collection) a "Wedgwood preciousness" by rendering them in a blue similar to the shade of the salon in which he showed in the Savoy hotel. Moralioglu's instinct for the precious is undeniably one of his greatest assets as a designer. Another is his supreme sense of control. What Fall showed is that he can subvert both those qualities to great effect while staying true to himself. Today's show was beautiful—as precious and precise as his finest work—but there was a lingering niggle that Erdem's blue Spring was possibly a little too cool. With his backstory, he'd set the fuse to a powder keg. Perhaps there'll be another explosion next season.