LFW: Erdem S/S 2017

Erdem S/S 17
Erdem Spring/Summer 2017. Photo credit: Umberto Fratini

Twitter suddenly became interesting in London Fashion Week when Sir Patrick Stewart decided, or was coerced, into attending his first fashion show. He tweeted a picture of himself sitting on the front row. That’s all it took. The Twittersphere, at least the part of it that was awake, summarily exploded. Who is Erdem? WHAT is Erdem? Are Klingons involved? Just a wee bit distracting, but at the same time draws attention to one of London’s most creative brands.

This season’s collection, named Redemption, walked on a set meant to resemble being shipwrecked on a beach in Deauville. The feeling is dramatic and Erdem has created clothes that match wonderfully well.

Starting with a blue print suit tied with large black bows that carry over to the next look, a white dress with a similar feel. The silhouettes in this collection are a mash-up of 17th-century looks, with high collars and banded sleeves and tiered ruffles, merged with modern elements such as strappy off-the-shoulder dresses and creative cutouts. Everything is topped with a large, floppy black hat that obscures the model’s faces, adding a sense of drama.

To some degree, the dresses that most directly resemble the 1650s from which they were pulled feel a little forced to accept the fringe or black straps to which they are assigned. Where Erdem applies a stroke of genius, though, is when he gives those looks a sense of deconstruction. He brilliantly uses sheer panels between opaque to provide a sense of tearing or decay without making the pieces too modern with numerous cutouts. There are other places where the deconstruction are more obvious, such as the stripping away of shoulders and leaving sleeves to start at the elbows. Against the shipwrecked setting the feel is especially dramatic.

What might be easily overlooked with all the drama is the incredible amount of detail Erdem has put into several of these pieces. The beadwork alone is exquisite and at times surprisingly heavy. A tremendous amount of effort has gone into these pieces. Yet, even here Erdem has been careful to not go overboard (pun not intended). The details are at their best when they’re understated, providing just a hint of glitter amidst the sheer fabrics.

Most wearable from this collection are likely to be those dresses with fewer ruffles. There are moments when the preponderance of flouncing fabric becomes a bit too much, especially for a spring/summer look. Erdem’s careful deconstruction helps keep most the looks suitable for modern consumption, but there are still a few looks that might be just a touch too antiquated.

An incredibly artistic and well-considered collection, if one was going to select a presentation for their first fashion show, this certainly was a good one to choose. What the legendary actor actually thought of the show he hasn’t yet said. Nonetheless, a lot of people are perhaps more aware of an extremely creative designer than they were at the beginning of the day and that is a very good thing.

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