Rather than single out an extraordinary woman as his historical muse, Erdem chose a different approach for SS23. Previous collections have paid homage to the likes of Emma Hamilton, Madame d’Or, Margot Fonteyn, Tina Modotti and HRH Queen Elizabeth II, but for this show, Erdem took a deep dive into the art of restoration.
He spent time with the restoration experts at the V&A, Tate, British Museum and The National Gallery. He watched them work on damaged 15th. century oil paintings and a tattered 18th century gown, bringing them back to life with painstaking precision and care. That level of attention and craft, was poured into this collection, along with a sense of communing with history, helped along by the setting on the parapet of the British Museum.
The first model strode out in a strict black fifties skirt suit, embellished with vivid floral embroidery at the hem. A black tulle veil – the show was on the eve of The Queen’s funeral – gave it a sombre elegance. Then Erdem worked his magic. His silhouettes jumped across fashion eras from renaissance via the twenties and fifties. His skills in the atelier were on display with romantic faded brocades, artfully shredded onto seeping duster coats and gowns.
Old master etchings we’re blow up and collaged into prints, florals were patch-worked into corsets and ballerina length dresses. Crisp white shirting and mannish lace-ups tempered the femininity and made it all feel contemporary.
The designer also borrowed another idea from the conservation room. Inspired by the sheer voile shrouds used to protect precious pieces, he created ghost-like capes and veils for his pieces. It lent a sense of drama and ceremony to show and added to the heirloom effect. Who knows – some of these beautifully worked pieces may well be the museum pieces of the future.
Photography by Jason Lloyd Evans.