June 03, 2013 London
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.