“I was thinking about those Victorians who studied botany and travelled the world — they were a bit unhinged,” said Erdem of his leafy show, where exquisitely decorated lace dresses and jungle foliage patterns lead the designer to — in his own words — “open up”.
That spirit of lightness, freedom and adventure made for a powerful, even magical, collection, where any hint of the ladylike spirit on which Erdem has built his business was swept away by the jungle.
Everything worked towards freshness: flat sandals, evolving into spidery lacing up the leg, until more polite shoes with heels kicked in. The luxuriant undergrowth invaded the wooden board runway but also, metaphorically, the designer’s creative mind. The show was mostly about dresses, rich in decoration as a print, or when three-dimensional work appeared on the surface, so a skirt waistline might have plants spilling over the waist below a simple, semi-transparent top.
Other extraordinary effects included a bottle-green, feathered coat that seemed like lush grass, or, more poetically, a dress where a print of a Victorian conservatory window looked out on a green garden.
Was it all a bit too much — a jumble of a jungle? Not at all! Erdem dosed the vegetation with elegant dresses in black lace that might have just a few fronds cut into the edge of a collar. Interspersing the verdure were fresh broderie anglaise dresses, as though the Victorian adventurer had come home to sit on a terrace and contemplate the magic of the jungle.