News & Runway

Designer Dossier: Erdem

Erdem Moralioğlu (he prefers just Erdem, though, thanks) is a Canadian expat with a serious love of all that is British, which is why he's headquartered himself in London's East End and claims he will always prefer to show in his favorite city. That's in spite of the venerable Suzie Menkes' suggestion that the designer take his talent to Milan. Still part of the under-35 set, he's a growing powerhouse.

Erdem began his career studying fashion at Ryerson University in Tornoto and went on to earn his master's degree in 2003 at the Royal College of Art in London, closing that year's RCA show with his graduate collection. From that point forward, it's safe to say that he was pretty much unstoppable. He won the British Fashion Fringe award in 2005, which included approximately $130,000 in prize money. In 2007, he won the Swarovski British Fashion Council Fashion Enterprise Award. In 2008, 2009 and 2010 he won the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Forward Award. (See what I mean when I say, "unstoppable"?) His collections weren't just garnering love from the fashion establishment, he was also picking up some major celebrity cred. His designs were popping up on the red carpet on the backs of supermodels, ingenues and A-listers. As a result, he's been picked up by a number of major international stores and arbiters of taste, such as Barney's. The question remains: why do people love him so much?

Erdem's vision marries contemporary design techniques, such as digitally-manipulated prints, with a romantic idea of England sourced from hours of watching movies in his parents' basement in Canada. (He says his mother is also an Anglophile and his family frequently trekked to Britain to visit relatives.)

So what does it look like when you cross modern technology with highly feminized style? They're drop dead gorgeous, for one. For two, they pair contemporary, wearable silhouettes with the prettiest colors and fabrics you can imagine. Think lace and peony, purple and chiffon. Erdem's supporters have said that his success lies in knowing what women want, and in presenting such pretties in a way that makes them appealing — even to women who normally shy away from so much femme. It's true that Erdem always inserts a touch of edge, whether it be a strong line, a touch of leather or body-con dress with his romantic sensibility.

Our prediction? Erdem is poised to become a classic, not unlike Oscar De La Renta or one of his early employers, Diane Von Furstenburg. At the end of the day, today's women want to feel like women (albeit hip women). And Erdem delivers, season after season, with no slowing down in sight. Take a look at some of his designs below, and see if you don't agree.