THE POWER OF PERENNIALS
THE OUTNET are excited to unveil the launch of our exclusive capsule with London-based designer Erdem. Having founded his fashion house in 2005, Erdem has carved out a unique aesthetic that has won accolades and fans around the globe. The brand’s magic combines exquisite floral prints crafted into dramatic and glamorous silhouettes with storytelling at their core. Moragliou’s love of the arts provides the starting point for all of his designs, often inspired by pioneering female figures from literature and history. This special capsule of 25 styles utilizes existing fabrics from previous collections in some of Erdem’s iconic botanical patterns, reimagined in some of the designer’s signature silhouettes to celebrate THE OUTNET’S commitment to a more thoughtful, seasonless approach to fashion.
The campaign — embellished with the designer’s own handwriting — stars multi-talented model, journalist and poet Jess Cole. She recently co-directed her first play and is working on a forthcoming poetry collection. In the film below, hear Cole read from, and incorporate her own words into, the work of pioneering 18th-century poet and botanist Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, a key African-American figure in the artistic regeneration of Harlem, also known as the Harlem Renaissance.
To mark the launch, we asked Erdem himself to tell us the story of the collection…
The OUTNET: The exquisite quality of your fabrics is key to your work. Can you tell us how some of the materials and prints used in THE OUTNET collection were developed?
Erdem: A great deal of time is spent collaborating with the extraordinary mills. There is also so much time spent perfecting the details of the fabrics — each pattern and print is designed in-house. There are always little secrets hidden in the artwork; you have to look really hard…
The OUTNET: Do you have a favorite print from this collection?
Erdem: I love the Blue Paisley Vine print. It is based on an 18th-century wallpaper that we redeveloped, and the blue is a really striking blue.
The OUTNET: This collection uses existing fabrics — do you think it’s important for fashion to move towards a more circular, less wasteful model, through creative use of excess fabric, for example?
Erdem: It is really important. As a studio, we have been looking at all our waste and how we can reduce it, and where we can’t, we find ways to upcycle the fabric — such as this collection, or recently, we used leftover fabric to make face masks. It is such an amazing thing to be able to create something totally new out of something that already exists.
The OUTNET: Tell us about the silhouettes and pieces that are key to this collection.
Erdem: I focused on silhouettes from the past, and experimented with fabrics they were never made in. I wanted to create an entire wardrobe — so the collection really covers different needs, from eveningwear and day dresses to separates and pajama trousers.
The OUTNET: The collection will appeal to so many different kinds of woman. Who do you envisage wearing it?
Erdem: The answer is in the question! I too believe the collection will appeal to so many different kinds of women. The most thrilling thing to me is to see all the extraordinary and incredible women wearing my work.
The OUTNET: Why are flowers such an inspiration for you?
Erdem: I’ve always been fascinated by the language of the feminine. Flowers are an extension of this language: beautiful, feminine and complex.
The OUTNET: Which are your all-time favorite flowers?
Erdem: I love dahlias — beautiful and dangerous looking!
The OUTNET: Where do you draw inspiration for your prints? Do you like to look at flowers directly, or do you look at representations of them in art and textiles?
Erdem: When I start the design process for a collection, I am always looking to explore a narrative. I am interested in telling a story. The prints are always an extension of this narrative.
The OUTNET: Do you think our current circumstances mean we are reconnecting with nature and a slower way of living? Have you personally experienced that?
Erdem: I think nature was one of the greatest respites of lockdown. I was so grateful for our little London garden and the square we live on. Something that gave me great hope in lockdown was this David Hockney quote. It summarized the situation so well: ‘they can’t cancel spring.’
The OUTNET: You are often inspired by interesting female figures from history and literature. Who are your perennial inspirations?
Erdem: Each season will always be built around a new narrative, one of the most enjoyable parts of my design process is the journey delving into a new character and that research process whether it be Tina Madotti, Adele Astaire, Emma Hamilton or Princess Orietta Pogson Doria Pamphilj.