#SuzyLFW: Sweet Storytellers
Erdem: A woman of character
A woman in a leafy coat, smothered with patterns from Nature, has a veil over her face. There is story here, of course, because this is Erdem Moralioglu, whose fashion expertise is to make an unfolding tale out of clothes.
This time, there were no mysterious beauties, but rather a definitive woman: Adele Astaire, the older sister of tap dancer Fred, who married a lord, saw him die of drink, but continued to visit their country home every summer even after moving to Arizona with her second husband (a CIA official).
Erdem’s ability to unfold a storyline, like unpacking clothes, is charming, but with an edge. The death of her husband becomes this sweet lady, with gloves like hosiery rising high on her arms. Or there might be a belted coat over a floor-sweeping gown, as though she had fled aristocratic grandeur.
“She gave up her career and disappeared to Lismore Castle in Ireland, and I became obsessed with imagining her in tweed and glitzy capes,” the designer explained.
Add to this imaginary woman, based on a genuine story, London’s National Portrait Gallery as the set, so that the models in shiny yellow velvet or ruched green satin were set against paintings of the period.
But having brought the tale to light, Erdem wisely stepped back, as Adele might have done when her Flapper shoes and spotted stockings reached the grand castle.
Apart from the veils and accessories, there was nothing historical about the clothes in their pinks, purples and greens. And by making just bustier satin tops and teaming them with velvet trousers, Adele’s style fitted nicely into a 21st-century autumn/winter wardrobe.
Sometimes Erdem’s collections seem smothered by their stories. But this time, he had picked a woman of character – and it showed.
Roksanda: Hunkering down
As a designer who is known for vivid colours cut on geometric lines, Roksanda had softened up. Using a ginger gold shade for the opening tailored coat and long-jacket trouser suit, the designer was showing her gentler side.
The new look started with the programme – a square of paper, with paint strokes to show a palette of soft colours, including absinthe green and a pink-tinged yellow. A blanket cover, fringed edges and all, was worn over soft blue satin trousers, suggesting a woman wrapped up at home.
It was a softer look, but lacking the edginess of Roksanda’s earlier work. Maybe the development of her London store has made the designer more sensitive to clothes that answer genuine needs, rather than making bold statements.
Or maybe the designer is reaching out for a midway position between defined and droopy. A shell-pink satin dress with yellow underskirt made a stylish evening outfit and, for all its soft delicacy, outshone the more dramatic tulle evening dresses.