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5 Things To Know About Erdem’s Restoration-Inspired SS23 Collection

London’s many shrines to art, culture and history became homes away from home for Erdem Moralıoğlu while working on his spring/summer 2023 collection, through which he explores the world of art restoration. Below, five things to know about the show.

Erdem immersed himself in the world of art restoration

Erdem and his studio team met with restoration experts and conservations at the British Museum, Tate Britain, the National Gallery and the V&A while working on the spring/summer 2023 collection, which draws on the painstaking work involved in protecting cultural property. “We looked broadly at painting, historic costume and sculpture,” explains the designer, who adds that the restoration experts he met can spend 20 years working on an individual piece. “It became apparent to me that the forensic dedication applied to their subjects walks the line between care and obsession – this collection explores that space. I loved the idea of becoming the material that you are restoring.”

The venue was particularly apposite

Where better to present a collection inspired by the preservation of items of cultural importance than the British Museum? “To have the collection come alive amongst the colonnades of the museum feels so fitting,” says Erdem, who spent days in the conservation department at the landmark building. “I spent so long studying behind the scenes and working with the conservators.”

Erdem became obsessed with the obsessive nature of restoration

“I was thinking about obsession and the boundless pursuit of preservation,” he says of his approach to the collection. A series of photographs taken behind the scenes in the costume department at the V&A became a particularly rich source of inspiration. “Looking at the team restoring an 18th-century gown, I became obsessed with the complex under-structures built in order to save the garment,” he says. “There was something so interesting about the scientific, almost forensic intervention.”

The detail is forensic, but the mood is undone

The “knowledge, skill and obsession” that goes into restoring individual pieces of cultural importance informed the truly special gowns in the show’s finale, which were created using fragments of different fabrics. “The finale gowns are so important to me,” Erdem says. “They were really inspired by the tulle under-structures that we saw at the V&A… the idea of creating something in order to restore and save something else,” he adds. “To me there was something so interesting in the idea of the fragments, it was fascinating to cut up different garments and morph them together. There is a sense of the undone in this collection.”

It’s a season of solidarity in London

Erdem, a favorite designer of British royals including the Princess of Wales, unveiled his spring/summer 2023 collection on the eve of the Queen’s state funeral. “I was so saddened to hear of Her Majesty the Queen’s death,” says the designer. “It has given me, and all of us showing in London, a real sense of solidarity. Showing alongside all of the other extraordinary designers, we collectively celebrate her.”

Originally published in

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