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Erdem Turns to Susan Sontag for Inspiration for Spring 2021

The brand draws prescient connections between her 1992 novel, "The Volcano Lover," and the challenges we face today.

Susan Sontag's essay, "Notes on 'Camp'" served as a foundation and framework for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2019 Costume Institute exhibit, Camp: Notes on Fashion. The American author is being cited as an inspiration by the fashion industry once again — except this time, it's her historical romance novel, "The Volcano Lover," that designer Erdem Moralioglu turned to while creating amid Covid-19 lockdowns. 

Erdem staged its latest runway presentation, for Spring 2021, on Monday, during London Fashion Week. (Like Burberry's most recent debut, it took place in a forest — the Epping Forest, located between London and Essex, to be precise.) In the show notes, the brand explained the prescience of Sontag's "The Volcano Lover," particularly how the love story at its center unfolds against a smoking Mount Vesuvius in Naples. "As the volcano rumbles and revolution rolls around the continent, everyone understands that the future will be different from the past," it writes. "It is a precipice moment in time, such as we face ourselves today." 

The collection itself features all the beloved Erdem signatures: the delicate florals, modest silhouettes, elegant details — high collars, billowy sleeves, bow accents. There's also a pointed use of color (butter yellow, olive green, powder pink and cherry red against crisp white, black and navy), mismatched prints and fabrics, as well as sharp lines (in the form of cropped jackets and an asymmetric skirt hem).

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"History is punctuated with explosive events that force change. Life erupts," the show notes say. "Though our futures remain uncertain, there is comfort to be found in the sheer vitality of human kind." 

See every look from Erdem's Spring 2021 collection in the gallery, below.

Homepage image: Ina Lekiewicz/Courtesy of Erdem

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