Sex. Admit it, that's the last word you expected to read at the start of an Erdem review - a label that, if not sexless, at least has a sweet, slightly saccharine and definitely girlish naivete to its offerings. All that has changed: I hate to spoil the story for you, but next winter, the Erdem girl gets laid.
What that translated to on Erdem Moralioglu's catwalk was the most carnal collection this designer has ever conjured up. Of course, for Erdem, that doesn't mean flashing acres of flesh - in actual fact, he lowered them. Instead of the frou-frou balerinas of last season, his hemlines hovered about the knee, sometimes below. Backstage Moralioglu stated that the Erdem girl had become a woman. She seems to have bought her first grown-up pencil skirt for the occasion, sexily slit up the thigh, sometimes attached to a bodice structured as a cross between a corset and a brassiere.
With that sexiness came new sophistication, and even seduction. The collection was packed with the kind of tactile fabrics that invite caresses - silk faille crusted with crystal, quilted satin, and acres of velvet, the most strokeable fabric of them all. Erdem's prints this time also veered on the darker, moodier side, taking in midnight-blue, violet, olive, a sulky chatreuse and vibrant bolts of raspberry. Erdem tossed out references to Jackson Pollock, but this time his muted, mottled prints reminded me of the Graham Sutherland portrait of Helena Rubenstein in all her Balenciaga brocaded glory.
You can't get further away from a girlish ingenue than that. It was refreshing to say the least to see Erdem pushing himself so resolutely out of his comfort zone. He did that with the garments themselves too, offering chunky sweaters, neat blouses, flesh-baring evening gowns (as a contrast to his usual 'Room With a View' Edwardian reveries, these felt terribly exciting) and even a razor-tailored trouser-suit or two. The Erdem girl is sorted - this season, it felt like he was building a wardrobe for the Erdem woman. The really great thing for Moralioglu's business is that with a mature, multifaceted and knockout offering like this, that woman could - and should - be anyone and everyone.