Even the walls of the White Cube gallery in Bermondsey put on their finest black lace for today’s Erdem show. But wait, black lace? Oh yes, Erdem Moralioglu is in a dark mood this season. The familiar, and rather worrying, notes from Hitchcock’s Psycho added to the intrigue. Erdem is setting challenges for himself - last season he worked naughty python skin into his otherwise perfectly ladylike collection and today was all about making black as layered and detailed as the ridiculously pretty floral prints and lace of seasons past.
He achieved that primarily by using exposed skin as his ally. Diaphanous layers and cropped proportions meant that a single black look did not walk past looking flat and lifeless. The show opened with shimmery tweed; a cropped top over a high-waist skirt left the midriff exposed whereas ostrich feathers accentuated the hemline of a zip-up coat. Another was covered in countless paillettes that reflected the light. It wasn’t long before Erdem returned to colour though, albeit concealed under transparent panels as in a rosy pink floral embroidered dress with sheer black panels muting the skirt, or as the background for his intricate embellishment. A striped angora knit and skirt, falling below the knee and broken up by black ribbed trim felt particularly new as did the crisp white collar and cuffs on a maroon dotted blouse tucked in a matching lace skirt. You could sense the designer’s restraint in keeping a feathery skirt from exploding free under a strict sheer layer or toning down the sweetness of a lovely pink lace dress in the same manner – this time, the lace hemline just escaping underneath.
An exercise in restraint is always advisable but Erdem should have more faith in his skills, whether he’s using the brightest bright or blackest black. The group of sheer black dresses that closed the show, featuring panels of dotted lace were sublime. Don’t be afraid of the dark, Erdem!