The finale music sounded like Debbie Harry singing "Heart of Glass" over Michael Nyman's theme from The Piano.
An aural culture clash maybe, but it was actually weirdly compatible. And weird compatibility might have been the theme of Erdem
's new collection. He mashed French icons of sixties cool like Anna Karina and Betty Catroux together with seventeenth-century Velázquez infantas, eighteenth-century botanical prints, and Romanovs on the run from marauding Bolsheviks to create "an army of girls" (his words) he described as—what else—weird.
If there was a unifying theme, it was, Erdem said, the idea of revolution. He tried the clean slate approach last season, and that didn't go too well for him. So it was no surprise to see a more familiar Erdem assert himself, at least in the girlish spirit of the collection: short flaring dresses, sparkly decoration, Nicholas Kirkwood flats. Smart move. But it was no mere retrenchment. If gilded guipure felt like a flashback, there was also croc-stamped black leather, in a short skirt over narrow pants. One of the most telling—and appealing—touches was the intricate botanical embroidery, an Erdem signature, which here had been left deliberately unfinished, so that brightly colored clumps of thread hung like feathers. It was almost as if the designer was saying "This is what I do, but I can un-do it, too."
That sense of things falling apart nibbled at the rest of the collection. Some dresses gaped at shoulder and elbow, others looked like they'd been hit hard by a storm of small golden meteors. One of the most beautiful pieces was cut from dull gold silk woven with delicate blue flora. It was draped to one side, like it was not quite finished. An elegant reminder that every designer's career is a work in progress.