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Erdem Womenswear S/S11

Blood red roses break up a sugar sweet collection of summer dresses adorned in lace and tulle

London Fashion Week may have one day to go yet but it’s difficult to imagine there will be a show more breathtakingly beautiful and finely crafted than Erdem’s SS 11 collection. After designing a souvenir scarf for the upcoming “Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes” exhibition at the V&A, newly anointed Fashion Fund winner, Erdem Moragliu was granted unparalleled entrée to the vast treasure trove of illustrations, sets and costumes for the legendary Ballet Russes. From there he let his imagination and attention to detail take flight into new realms of loveliness. Staged in the round under a marquee on a balmy Autumn’s Day, he opened with a quintet of models in stunning confections of calico lace, tulle and embroidery that could almost pass for wedding dresses had their hemlines not been shortened. A sharp intake of breath greeted the next look with blood red roses breaking up the sugariness of the lace. Sweet summer dresses had Swarovski crystals picked out on a harlequin print. There were day clothes as well – cigarette trousers and a simple blouse for example, in a gorgeous floral print of course. The trio of floor length chiffon dresses that closed the show gave some idea of the sense of movement and freedom in this inspired collection. This was literally Erdem in full bloom.

Dazed Digital: How did you get access to the archive of the Ballet Russes?

Erdem: I had designed a scarf for the “Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes” exhibition at the V&A and was fortunate enough to befriend the director and was given access to the archive. It had the most amazing contents in there.

DD: So was there a sense of movement with the collection?

Erdem: It was. I love the contrast between the structure and the diaphanous and the soft. It felt like my most researched collection. I was really into how the garments were constructed and the idea of contrasting structure with lightness.

DD: Tell us about the gorgeous lace used in the collection.

Erdem: We used a hand-crocheted lace from Switzerland. For the beginning section, I got taken into this special room at the V&A and it was all the dresses in the exhibit covered in calico and toile, all different shades of white. So it was this idea about lifting up the calico and seeing all these amazing colours.

DD: You mentioned you always see your new collection as a reaction against the old one – was this the same?

Erdem: Yeah I wanted it all very light – and to mix drape with structure.

DD: And if you were to sum up an emotion running through the collection, what would that be?

Erdem: Optimism.