The sound of wind blew across a lowly lit set tinged with purple, shrouded in blank gauze and filled with the tinkling of chimes. Thunder rumbled, the heavens opened and a choral audio called to mind a Game of Thrones bleakness. Girls arrived on a wagon, briefly lit by the suggestion of spotlights.
Long Bill Gibb-inspired maxi dresses walked across an old wooden bridge and along corridors of earth, whilst folkloric violins, bells, and thunder provided staccato, melody and bass. Courtesy of the highly evocative show production, the clothes only needed a slight push, in the way of atmospheric connection – and they were easily elevated. Isn’t this what a runway is for? One still shudders at why Valentino ever allowed that film I dare not speak of anywhere near the storytelling space of their world. Although this world shares a similar space to Valentino, the Italian brand feels more starchy and confined than this – though Erdem’s casting of two black models barely beats the ratio of Valentino’s Aryan kingdom.
White prairie dresses with dip-dyed hems, called to mind inky love letters sent from far distant lands. Earlier this year, The Fashion and Textile Museum put on an exhibition about Thea Porter, one of the unsung pioneers of Bohemian chic from the sixties and seventies. The souls of her brocade panel and gypsy dresses, which dressed the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Faye Dunaway, were in the air.
Black lace, Swiss bibs and velvet neckties confessed a puritanical romance. The incessant rain and dark earth called to mind the thick mud and repressed erotica within Jane Campion’s 1993 cinematic masterpiece - the notion that these girls could be nipping over to Harvey Keitel’s hut for a Piano lesson fitted both the melancholy and romance of the scene. The gift of a wooden key with 'My heart is yours' written on the side could have easily been in the hand of one of these girls. Rather than ankles, Erdem pushed forward a few centuries - shoulders were the erogenous zone of choice here. Waistlines were either dropped or pronounced with volume, frills or belting.
Tiers of ruffles cried for home. Trails of chiffon and undulating plissé swept across the hips and floor with love. Like a low-lit investigation into romance, the violins sounded - and the girls were gone.