Tuesday 18th February

| BY Dino Bonacic

Erdem: Ready-to-wear AW20

A fine art lover through and through, Erdem Moralioglu nurtures an almost encyclopedic approach to history, with each of his collections dedicated to a phenomenon from the past you’d want to read books about. And just like you cheated on reading in school by watching Hollywood adaptations of the titles, the Montreal-born, London-based designer now offers 40-something looks that will paint the picture of the plot to his latest fascination. On the occasion of his Autumn/ Winter 2020 show, Moralioglu looked at the Bright Young Things, a community of young, Bohemian aristocrats and socialites in 1920s London notorious for their gender-bending dress-up parties. They were most famously eternalised in history thanks to a series of portraits by Cecil Beaton who captured the community of party boys and girls in all their utter fabulosity. The series is also the titular work in an upcoming retrospective of Beaton’s work opening in March at the National Portrait Gallery, where the Erdem AW20 show took place. 

The silver, foiled floor which crackled as the models sashayed told a story of a morning walk of shame, as wassailers walked on broken glass and other remnants of last night’s good times. They still looked perfectly dishevelled, their decadent pearl-encrusted dresses worn with oversized mohair knits. Delicate embroidered silk pyjama sets were layered under heavy coats, while sequinned detachable collars with ribbons sat asymmetrically on their shoulders. They wore sensible shoes that sometimes matched, other times totally contradicted the looks, and therefore stayed true to its inspirations. A narrative of Beaton’s ascendence into high society along with his two sisters Nancy and Baba was an underlying current, with Erdem’s muses questioning the look of belonging to the high class. Topped with grand feather head-dresses and their finger-waved hair painted to look like silver foil, there was no mistake – this is the height of glamour – past, present and future.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.