Prints, ruffles and dresses: when a designer manages to surprise us while sticking to these three staples, we know we have a future star in womenswear.Erdem Moralioglu created a look that is romantic without being too saccharine; strong, with bright colors and minimal silhouettes. His label, established in London in 2005, fuses the craftsmanship of haute couture (he has been called “The Christian Lacroix of London”) with the avant-garde vibe of the city.

Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, by a Turkish father and English mother, Erdem moved to London to study at the Royal College of Art, from which he graduated in 2003. He worked for Diane von Furstenberg in New York before returning to London to launch his eponymous line. After winning Fashion Fringe (a competition that has launched, among others, fellow Londoners Aminaka Wilmont and Basso & Brooke) he became a fixture at London Fashion Week’s line-up.From his earlier collections, which feature a more austere combination of prints and solid colors, he developed a more complex palette and patterns, focusing on the dreamy prints that have now become his signature.

After a Summer collection that was like a garden in bloom, with bouquets donning mini dresses in every shape, and hints of black lace layered over bright silk, Winter 2010 had a three-dimensional feel with almost psychedelic prints. The designer’s inspiration came from twin sister’s trip to the Arctic Circle, and the pictures she sent of the reindeer herder she stayed with. He also looked at films such as Picnic at Hanging Rock and Alive, translating these aesthetics into a whimsical play of thick materials and autumnal nature.
His outerwear included a flower-printed dark cape and a camel hair trench coat with a shearling-lined hood, featuring utilitarian details (produced in collaboration with Mackintosh). The palette of the collection was like a forest in the fall: brown and burgundy, yellow and teal, with a somber feel that was somehow dimmed by the incredible prints. The delicate lace numbers in dusty blue and yellow were contrasted with more aggressive pieces depicting flamboyant scenes of autumnal leaves and appliqués of birds on fluffy chiffon. Simple shapes (cocktail dresses cinched at the waist, collared shirts and A-line skirts) were like white canvases on which the prints could clash freely: watercolors of underwood, red leaves that fell into symmetrical patterns, orange swallows on grey silk. The shoes were conceived with footwear superstar Nicholas Kirkwood, who produced a series of high-heeled hiking boots to keep in line with the mountainous theme of the line-up. Other accessories included a capsule collection of brass-buckle belts and leather Alice bands—the latter a sure must-have for the coming season.

Moralioglu’s eye for detail and his way with textiles also gained the attention of Liberty’s, London’s print institution. “I have adored Liberty ever since visiting London as a child,” he explained, and it was like a dream come true when the London department store asked him to design a capsule collection using the house’s prints. The designer reworked two flower patterns, turning the usual sharp micro-flowers into abstract watercolors.

With regular red carpet appearances and a stockist list that reads like a fashion retail who’s who (from Net-a-Porter to Dover Street Market, from Colette and LuisaViaRoma to Saks Fifth Avenue, all bases are covered), the young print master is well on his way to stardom.

-Rosa Maria Bertoli

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