One of the surprises for this spring/summer season in London is just how dark many of the collections are. I think I’ve seen more chocolate brown in the past four days than several season’s worth of fall/winter collections. I don’t know if this is reflecting darker attitudes, changes in climate, or just some natural progression toward earth tones. This absence of brightness is a little unsettling, though, especially on days like this one where London is its stereotypical cloudy, misty, gloomy grey. Dark tones in clothing just seem to add to the depression.

Not that this Erdem spring/summer 2015 collection is depressing. An exotic jungle garden serves as the inspiration for this very interesting line and it would be difficult to imagine a jungle that did not have some dark browns and forest greens in the mix. Erdem also mixes in a fair sprinkling of yellow and a rather wide range of blues in addition to some monochrome white pieces that stand out dramatically in contrast.  Yet, at the end of the presentation, one found it difficult to not focus on the darkness of the whole mood.

What really stands out in this collection is the texture of the fabrics woven into the pieces. Rough patches of sheer and lace are attractively bound together as though one is peering up through the leaves of exotic trees. Unfinished seams along panels of tweed (another unusual element for spring) are rough to the touch like the bark of a tree. Then come the leaves and the feathers. Lots and lots of feathers.

Okay, I have to stop here. For all the creative and interesting things Erdem does to make this a very tactile fashion experience, when he introduces a dress covered entirely in dark green leaves it was impossible for me to not think of Monty Python. I had to stifle my tongue to keep from yelling, “It’s a shrubbery!” While I’m sure most of the British audience felt the same way (there were plenty of grins and giggles as it passed), screaming out like that would have just been rude. Still, if one is looking to dress like a shrub for any reason, one knows exactly where to shop.

Erdem explains the all white pieces as the trellis in this most exotic garden. Each one is laden heavily with lace and has somewhat of a pseudo-Victorian feel to the style even though much of the lace is actually laser cut. These also give Erdem a chance to work with more traditional silhouettes in of the highly textured and highly tailored looks of the rest of the collection. Prints later in the collection are a bit understated, their colors muted and their lines soft.

What doesn’t work here are the gowns. Their large prints and over sized skirts feel very much as if Erdem took the drapes from the windows in fashioning the last few pieces. Texture is nice, to be sure, but these are just too dark and too heavy, even with copious amounts of sheer peek through, to work well in a spring/summer collection.

Erdem has created a very interesting and different collection for spring. Whether it fits in one’s wardrobe likely depends on the direction of one’s mood. Dark tones are certainly a factor this season, though, and Erdem’s added texture and styling may make this line a great alternative to slick-finished fabrics.

Photo credit: Yanni Vlamos

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