Erdem Moralioglu took Constance Spry, the educator, author and gardening guru who arranged the flowers for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, as his muse for a collection that was alive with saturated colors and twisting leaf patterns reminiscent of the 18th-century Dutch painters.
Giant flower embroideries blossomed across a sharply tailored coat and vivid, pea green skirt, while oversize, theatrical bows finished off looks including a kiwi-toned evening gown and fuchsia pencil skirt with a black flower print.
The grandeur, and homage to the natural world, also came in the form of colorful prints inspired by the luscious, sensual paintings of the Dutch artists.
Moralioglu worked those petals and vines onto silhouettes including a one-shoulder midi dress adorned with a dramatic black bow; a slouchy, linen trench with a frayed hem; and a prim white broderie anglaise dress with balloon sleeves.
There was a big shot of orange here, too — tangerine florals on breezy midi dresses and a tall drink of a gown with straps and languid puff sleeves.
No matter how fancy or dramatic these silhouettes were, they were styled with flat, black, lace-up shoes in a bid to channel the glamour, and grounded-ness, of Spry herself.
The designer said he imagined Spry’s double life, designing for the coronation and spending time digging dirt and feeding her plants and flowers. “In my mind, half of this collection is real, the other half is dreamlike — almost decadent.”
He added that it “hints at a demure personality with a wilder side simmering beneath the surface.”
Even his mohair sweaters had an abstract floral shadow effect, “as if standing in a walled garden, under dense greenery, sheltering from direct sun,” the designer said.
The collection had a ’50s edge, too, a lineup of fit-and-flare dresses, sensible tweed suits with pencil skirts and fuller ones, too, which he paired with snappy white shirts.