Lasting impression: Erdem launches footwear
Erdem SS16Erdem SS16
Overblown cuffs, bare shoulders and high Victorian collars; tiers, flounces, guipure lace trimmings and a smattering of toile de Jouy. Delicately embroidered flower-sprigged sheer silk voile, and vine motifs climbing a regimented hessian coat dress like a carefully curated trellis. So the spring/summer Prairie woman took form on the Erdem catwalk.
Over the course of 10 years, Erdem Moralioglu has meticulously crafted his brand, celebrating a decade in the business last September with the launch of his first store, a two-storey flagship boutique on Mayfair’s Mount Street. And now there is a new chapter to be written. Having previously collaborated with Nicholas Kirkwood on footwear, this season Erdem is stepping out alone."I always wanted to bring shoes in-house at some point," he explains. "It’s really exciting to think about how my woman looks from top to toe." Moralioglu always speaks of the Erdem woman as an actual being, referring to the store as her "Mayfair pied-à-terre".
"Spring/summer 2016 was about figuring out what this language of shoes was going to look like," he continues in his quiet, measured way. "I thought, what’s going to work with these silhouettes that end just above the ankle, what’s going to make them feel really modern?" And so he arrived at a refined, structured shape to contrast with the more flamboyant proportions of the dresses.
There are three styles – a pump and a sandal (with flared, architectural heels) and a flat almond-toed slingback – in embroidered raw silk hessian, a floral-print satin and black embossed leather. There was something, Moralioglu pronounces, about a heel and almond-shaped toe that felt "really right – you know instinctively when something works". The sandal, with its delicate straps wrapped around the foot, was inspired by Victorian ankle boots, reimagined with sections cut away to expose the skeleton of the shoe.
"The slingback I love," he enthuses, explaining that "it looks like a traditional high heel but with the heel snapped off; there’s something wonderful about this proportion." It’s this knack of creating an off-kilter prettiness, a beautiful wrongness, that is typically Erdem. Similarly the fact that he matched some of the shoes to the dresses on the catwalk – "there was something almost silly about that."
All, however, have been conceived with a bigger picture in mind. The pump and the flat will return for pre-fall and beyond (look out for a trompe-l’oeil open-toe style, a new Forties-inflected high-heeled sandal and a pointed loafer) – the idea being to create classic shapes he can revisit season after season like "a continuous thread", while at the same time adding new styles.
Moralioglu also took to the more technical side of shoemaking. "I learnt so much from the collaboration with Nicholas [whom he also credits with introducing the team to manufacturers] so the transition felt quite fluid," he says. But while there were technical limitations such as heel height and pitch to consider, he thrived on the whole process. "The moment you create your own last, you’re creating your own shape. That I find thrilling."