There's no question that fashion and technology are growing ever closer by the day, but Canadian-British-Turkish designer Erdem Moralioglu takes the concept of digital design a step further than most. Those glorious florals that have earned him a fast following are, as it happens, created entirely by computer. Yesterday afternoon, the bespectacled London-based designer hit Saks Fifth Avenue for a meet-and-greet with shoppers. In between oohing and aahing over the lace-draped looks on display, we pulled him aside to discuss inspiration, possible collaborations, and those Waity Katie whisperings.
Fashionista: First off, just so everyone's sure, how exactly do you pronounce your name? Is it "ER-dem" or "er-DEM?" Erdem Moralioglu: Hahaha! Honestly, say it any which way you like. I get both all the time. And when it comes to saying my last name, "Moralioglu," just remember to divide it into three parts: "Moralee-oh-glue." See? Easy!
Since launching your line back in 2005, you've gained a reputation as the Master of Florals. What compels you to use flowers as a print time and time again? I dip in and out of my florals obsession. For example, Fall 2011 didn't include as many florals as my spring collection did. It's not really about using florals per se--it's the colors and textures of flowers that draw me in, and a love of colorful prints. Or maybe I'm just a romantic at heart and never realized it until now!
Your fall lineup was much darker overall than we are used to seeing from you. Did you approach this season with a different mindset or muse? It was very much a reaction to last spring's collection, which was really light. Spring was all about a girl, whereas Fall/Winter was about a woman. It's leaner, sexier. I had been watching the movie Pollock, which is all about the relationship between Jackson Pollock and his wife, and I just pictured a woman taking a canvas and literally tearing it up, just totally ripping it apart. There's a definite meanness to these clothes! I was also looking at a lot of Cy Twombly's work, and getting inspired by the idea of abstraction.
You've dressed everyone from Lea Michele to Sarah Jessica Parker. Who would you most like to see in Erdem next? Tilda Swinton! I am obsessed with I Am Love.
You're based in London, a total fashion capital when it comes to breeding fresh talent. Why do you think young designers have had so much success in your home city? It's funny--we all started around the same time, five or so years ago. I think it's all about London's education system. There's Central Saint Martins, of course, and the Royal College of Art, which is where I went. Both produce such strong students. On top of that, London itself is just a catalyst for art, music, and culture.
High-low collaborations are one of the fastest ways for young designers to reach wider audiences and earn a broader fan base. Any plans for a secondary line or a collab of your own? "Erdem for H&M" has such a nice ring to it... It's come up so many times, but I'm just too focused on my own collection at this point. It takes up all my time! But in the future, down the line...who knows?
Finally--and you knew this topic was going to come up--your name has been thrown out there as the possible designer of Kate Middleton's wedding gown. Any comment on that? I mean, any mention like that is just a huge compliment. It's so flattering! I will say that Kate is very beautiful....