Erdem Moralioglu is a historian as much as he is a fashion designer. And though it is not novel— in the least—for creatives in the industry to rehash styles from the past, his perspective is unique by today’s standards.
Since debuting his eponymous label in 2005, the London-based designer continuously presents romance and whimsy with his collections season after season—think ornate floral column dresses, brocade separates, and embroidered coats (the spring 2020 lineup was particularly captivating). He has defined his aesthetic to consumers and has admirably not buckled under the pressure of trends, keeping to the mold he cast from the onset. The fact that his label is 15 years old is a testament to his tenacity.
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Indeed, the same sentiment can be applied to Claud Cecil Gurney, founder of British interiors brand de Gournay. He, like Moralioglu, has remained steadfast in his fanciful sensibilities, offering wallpaper, fabric, and porcelain founded in chinoiserie. As a result, his company is considered to be the leader in the 18th-century motif, attracting a wide range of clientele, along with companies looking to add another level to their business. Fashion, in particular, has come knocking on de Gournay’s doors, forming capsule lines that nicely meld different styles (Aquazzura and Adam Lippes are two past examples). Its most recent collaboration with Erdem, however, couldn’t have been more like-minded.
“The whole project felt like a very natural fit,” Moralioglu tells BAZAAR.com. “We both create pieces with a human hand, and we’re both dedicated to creating products that are of real quality. It’s remarkable when you see de Gournay wallpaper up close.”
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As an aesthete, Moralioglu was well aware of de Gournay’s renown, but it wasn’t until coming close to the panels from Pierre Bergé’s sale at Sotheby’s in 2018 that he began to really appreciate the brand. Both of them, to be sure, share the same wistful affection for the past, while simultaneously creating items that fit in with the times. So, when he was enlisted by de Gournay to design wallpaper and a corresponding fashion collection, the endeavor, for him, was a natural one.
“I approached this collection like I would a ready-to-wear collection, beginning with researching fabrics and textiles,” Moralioglu expresses. “Although this time, it was my own archive I found myself looking through—and sharing them with the de Gournay team, who then produced large-scale sketches for me to review. What followed was an organic back-and-forth as we shared ideas and sketches and amendments as we developed the design together.”
The result is a selection of wallpaper that depicts bucolic scenes of sinuous shrubs and trees with blooming flowers and birds perched on branches against brightly colored and sorbet-hued backdrops, and long flowing dresses with billowy sleeves and gauzy separates that were all cast in winding prints of flora and fauna. To the naked eye, what is presented could very well be attributed to de Gournay solely, but that perhaps is why the collection is so great. With brand collaborations becoming so prevalent in the industry, there have been many that have appeared forced and off-kilter. This collaboration between Erdem and de Gournay, though, is perfect and hassle-free, a virtual garden of earthly delights.
As for Moralioglu, the partnership gave him a chance to stretch his creative muscles and design for an industry that isn’t so attached to novelty. “With fashion, you always need to be thinking about what comes next,” he says. “But I think that working with de Gournay, I had the luxury of time.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.
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