It's evident that Erdem Moralioglu has been thinking about autumn 2010 in the quite literal sense that few other designers seem to grasp. His rich, dark palette was proof enough - hues of turning leaves and flora and fauna may seem a rather hackneyed idea for an Autumn/Winter collection, but this show was quite simply the best this young talent has ever put out.
Quickly summarised as an Edwardian waltz through the Lake District (my words, not his), Erdem embraced nature in all its forms. Taking a step away from the florals with which he established his reputation, this season Erdem turned to fauna, with dancing butterflies and swallows darting alongside rich autumnal foliage on the mottled surfaces of his silk georgettes and duchesse satins. These were sliced into everything from delicate above-the-knee cocktail dresses to fluttering, floor-length frocks fluted with ruffles in a spicy palette that cut through the sweetness of the shapes. Paprika, burnt ochre and tomato pepped up his faded mushroom, eau-de-nil and a delicate pale teal, but when that teal intensified into turquoise and was contrasted with a hearty burgundy and shots of vibrant saffron, the effect was almost three-dimensional in its dazzling graphicism.
This move away from the pretty-pretty felt absolutely right for the times - saccharine-sweet has had its day and for next season, something tougher is undoubtedly required. Erdem started from the shoes up, sending his girls out in thick-soled hiking boots, albeit in his signature prints. His technique felt tougher too, rather than fragile, quivering ruffles, we had wool passementerie trims, and dresses quilted, patchworked, appliqued embroidered and re-embroidered in a thick, dense cluster of pattern that nevertheless never overwhelmed.
It was also satisfying to see Erdem apply his aesthetic to a broader range of garments than ever before. He's created coats previously of course, collaborating with Mackintosh for many a season, but they were always delicate, somewhat will-o'-the-wisp numbers of fragile lace or organza - in short, outerwear you really didn't want to take outdoors. This season, he opened his show with a hefty draped wool cape in a rich burnt maroon, and peppered his show with cashmere knits, elaborately inlaid furs and leather, and a thick, chunky camel wool trench with the by-now-obligatory shearling trim. They were exciting not only as fantastic wardrobe staples, but as further proof that Erdem has moved on from his ethereal, otherworldly heroines and has begun to deal with the very real world.