Five short years after launching his own label, London-based designer
Erdem Moralioglu is arguably the hottest name in fashion circles these days. And with several prestigious awards already under his belt and fashion royalty like Anna Wintour, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Bosworth singing his praises, this famously spectacled designer is on the fast track to icon status.
Known for his fanciful
floral frocks and custom botanical prints, Erdem’s romantic, feminine pieces bring to mind fashionably elegant ladies who lunch…with, perhaps, a bit of attitude. “I think the woman I design for is the kind of woman that marches to her own drummer,” says Moralioglu. “She’s very individual and not necessarily dictated to by a season. She wears what she likes when she wants.”
Born and raised in Montreal, Moralioglu knew from a young age that he wanted to work in fashion. “I remember watching Jeanne Beker and Tim Blanks as a kid on TV, and in Montreal we also had an amazing fashion show called Perfecto that I loved! So yeah, I realized very, very early on that fashion was what I wanted to do.” But still for Moralioglu, being a designer is a life-long process. “I’m always exploring new things and kind of going in different directions, so for me that’s just an ongoing thing that I always try to do as a designer—constantly defining and redefining myself.”
This spring, Moralioglu’s collection features his signature botanical prints with considerable inspiration from the Ballets Russes. “I did a show at the Victoria & Albert Museum last year and was introduced to the director who told me about the upcoming exhibit of costumes and artifacts and he gave me access to the archives, which was totally inspiring—the collection is really a result of that research.” And if you still can’t get enough of Moralioglu’s whimsical day dresses and
bold prints, fans in Canada can also look forward to a special treat this fall, when ERDEM will launch a nine-piece bespoke collection inspired by jungle orchids, available exclusively at The Room in Toronto and (opening soon) Vancouver.
We recently caught up with Moralioglu to discuss Blackberry addiction,
X Factor and the Canadian fashion scene in the latest edition of our infamous Designer DNA questionnaire.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A wonderful meal with friends and family.
What do you consider your worst trait?
If you could choose an occupation other than your own what would it be?
A set designer in the theatre.
Who is your style icon?
If you had to choose one designer to fill your wardrobe, who would it be?
I think it would be Dries Van Noten. I love Dries. I find it really easy to wear.
When and where was your last vacation?
I went to Barcelona last June with several friends and it was very, very fun. It resulted in me getting my head shaved actually…but that’s a long story!
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“I’m a little worried about…”
What’s your usual (drink)?
Vodka soda with a bit of lime.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Oh god, I have so many but a big one is X Factor. It’s huge here.
Any grooming tips or advice?
I’m a pretty low maintenance guy. Give me 15 minutes and I’m out the door. I shave in the shower, does that count? I’m pretty easy.
Fashion trend you wish would disappear?
That’s a tough one. My studio is in very trendy East London so I’m looking out the window right now for anyone who just looks horrible—Oh! Boys who wear really skinny jeans. Like denim leggings on a boy. It’s just a bad look, I think. …I think?
How would you describe your personal style?
What are your five key wardrobe pieces?
Acne jeans, Sperry boat shoes, a white t-shirt from Uniqlo, Dries Van Noten peacoat and a cashmere cardigan from Scotland…with suede elbow patches! And my glasses! That’s probably the most important one, actually. My horn-rimmed glasses from Cutler and Gross. I have bad eyesight. I gotta see!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Winning the first British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund Award. That was a big one. It was a big surprise because the nominees were all so wonderful—I was thrilled and very surprised!
There seems to be a growing group of Canadian designers finding success abroad—do you think you have to leave home to find that kind of recognition?
That’s an interesting question. I studied in the UK but I think it’s a question of looking at the size of the industry and I think, as a whole, the Canadian fashion industry is much smaller than certainly New York or London or Paris or Milan so in terms of achieving commercial success, yes, certainly. And I think even on a creative level, it’s probably a lot easier. Unfortunately in Canada, there’s not that much of an industry, period. It’s not an activity, you know?
What’s the biggest lesson you learned so far this year?
Turn off your blackberry once in a while.
Describe your perfect Sunday?
It would start with breakfast at Broadway Market, which is near where I live, then I would probably go back home for a little snooze before going to the lydo—which is like a big outdoor pool—for a swim. After that, I’d grab a coffee and head to the studio to do a little bit of work, have a drink at my favourite pub, The George and Dragon, and then go for Vietnamese food. Then I’d go home, watch a movie and go to bed.
…Do you like how I snuck a little bit of work in there? I’m secretly a little bit of a workoholic.
What is your Twitter policy?
I’m on Twitter on and off—I have people who help me with it—but I guess I’m sort of a reluctant Twitterer.
What will you do when you retire?
I’ll probably open up a bookshop somewhere by the sea.
Finish this sentence:
“People think I’m a romantic but I’m really not. I’m a bad date.”
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter