Next season is shaping up to be about the reassertion of all that is delicate and feminine - check powdery pastels, fitted shapes and an externally-seamed brassiere as the fairly full-frontal component to many a sweet little cocktail frock. It may be arguable to say that a talent as new as Erdem Moralioglu has had a hand in shaping this (despite Anna Wintour's conspicuous front-row presence), but he is certainly well-placed to reap the rewards. The interesting thing was, while he could have easily rested on his blossom-encrusted laurels, Erdem decided to move things on and up a notch. This collection reigned in his urge to decorate to excess, although admittedly the first few exits resembled elegant explosions in a bridal shop - namely a dress and matching trench in Virginal white lace, and a trio of cocktail sheaths encrusted with three-dimensional nosegays in a rainbow of sugared hues. What made these slightly excessive excursions work was Erdem's admirable technique - if you're aping mid-century Couture's heavy-hitters, you'd better have the stitchwork to back it up. Moralioglu's frocks lived up to their promise. The silhouette throughout was clean and crisp, and in a London season replete with wonky seams and bunched zips, his finish was second to none. The show really got interesting when Erdem began to push himself and his aesthetic. A healthy dose of black, almost a first for this designer, was a jolt to the senses - but the collection was all the better for it. In black, those heavily-worked surfaces had a spare elegance stripped of frou-frou, likewise heavy lace laid on periwinkle or coral silk and tied with a firm little bow: sweet, but not sickly. These were tricks he picked up last season, and a dose of monochrome refreshed a palette cloyed with the pastels we're seen so far. While there was not a pair of trousers to be seen, Erdem's skirts sliced cleanly above the knee, giving them a daytime believability that inevitably escapes his sinuous, full-length Edwardian lines (they may be elegant, but can you imagine a woman wearing them for anything other than eating truffles on a chaise-longue?). That said, the last two hemlines on monochrome silks hugging the figure dropped decisively to the ankles. And damn the boy if they weren't all the lovelier for it.
A healthy dose of black, almost a first for this designer, was a jolt to the senses.