Per­sonal touch

For Er­dem Mo­rali­oglu, col­lab­o­rat­ing with H&M af­forded him the op­por­tu­nity to re­visit his past and mine his per­sonal his­tory. By Zara Wong.

VOGUE Australia - - Viewpoint -

L“THIS FEELS LOOSER THAN MY CAT­WALK COL­LEC­TIONS, AND ALSO VERY DEMO­CRATIC”

ast year, on a bit­terly cold spring day in Lon­don, Er­dem Mo­rali­oglu took guests through his re­sort col­lec­tion in his May­fair store. I’d flown in from much warmer Syd­ney, so Mo­rali­oglu pulled out a leop­ard-print fur coat and joked to me that it would be the per­fect an­ti­dote to the Lon­don weather. I rel­e­gated that coat to the dream cat­e­gory of my men­tal shop­ping list, con­coct­ing in­stead a more fab­u­lous ex­is­tence for it, to be worn traips­ing around one’s French chateau or one’s Scot­tish moor prop­erty. But here at the H&M Aus­tralia show­room, I sight an Er­dem x H&M leop­ard-print faux-fur coat that gave me the same fris­son of fash­ion what-ifs with its de­sign – and its price. It’s to be ex­pected from the Scan­di­na­vian re­tailer, but see­ing the qual­ity and work­man­ship in per­son never ceases to sur­prise and de­light.

“There’s some­thing about this col­lab­o­ra­tion that feels looser than my cat­walk col­lec­tions, and also very demo­cratic,” says Mo­rali­oglu, who tells Vogue how he drew on his past cre­ations, re-work­ing shapes and sil­hou­ettes, such as a pleated dress from a 2005 col­lec­tion, rather than on a sin­gu­lar nar­ra­tive, as he is wont to do. “With each of our col­lab­o­ra­tions, we say to the de­sign­ers that we want the true essence of their brand,” says H&M’s Ann-Sofie Jo­hans­son, the woman tasked with pro­duc­ing the sam­ples for the de­sign­ers, who “of­ten can’t be­lieve what we’ve man­aged to achieve”. After Bal­main and Kenzo, “the tim­ing felt right for a col­lab­o­ra­tion with a Bri­tish de­signer well known for his ro­man­tic and fem­i­nine style”, she adds. “I feel we need more beauty in the world th­ese days.”

The Cana­dian-born, Lon­don-based de­signer also looked to his own child­hood: “I was think­ing about pieces that my mother wore, like when she would bor­row my fa­ther’s coat to drive us to school.” Knits ref­er­ence a Nor­we­gian-style jumper that he had worn in school and styles seen in Twin Peaks, which he loved to watch as a teenager.

Of work­ing with him, Jo­hans­son points to his warmth and friend­li­ness. “He loves peo­ple and has such a great un­der­stand­ing of who wears his clothes – it’s like they are his friends,” she says. “He’s also very spe­cific and has an eye for per­fec­tion … it was ex­cit­ing for us to work with some­one who cared so much about every sin­gle de­tail.” The main la­bel’s del­i­cacy and whiffs of ro­man­ti­cism are cap­tured in the H&M col­lab­o­ra­tion, with a mock crocodile hand­bag dec­o­rated with crys­tal pat­terns, as if brooches had been at­tached to a vin­tage hand­bag; a white lace blouse col­lared with pleats and in­ter­laced black rib­bon; and a tweed skirt with the edges art­fully frayed, giv­ing the piece a sense of un­done moder­nity. “We al­ways like to think big at H&M and to give our cus­tomers some­thing spe­cial that’s com­pletely un­ex­pected,” says Jo­hans­son. “For us, it is al­ways im­por­tant to choose the best fab­ric for each gar­ment, of­fer­ing the best value for money.”

A first for Mo­rali­oglu is menswear, which al­lowed him to de­sign for him­self but to also main­tain a “di­a­logue be­tween the two worlds” be­tween menswear and wom­enswear. “I re­mem­ber we were fit­ting the men’s jacket, and we tried it on the fe­male model to see how she looked,” he re­calls. “It was a real mo­ment for us, be­cause she looked so won­der­ful and rel­e­vant. It led to us cre­at­ing a dou­ble-breasted jacket for the women’s col­lec­tion, which is now my favourite in the whole col­lec­tions.”

The com­bi­na­tion of his own his­tory and that of his brand made the col­lab­o­ra­tion a unique ex­pe­ri­ence. “Be­cause so much of the past 12 years is wo­ven into the col­lec­tion, it felt so good to have the op­por­tu­nity to look at the things I’ve done in the past and re­de­velop them – it was so ex­cit­ing. The whole project has felt so per­sonal.”

FIT­TING ONE OF THE PIECES FROM THE ER­DEM X H&M COL­LEC­TION ON A MODEL. DE­TAIL OF THE DE­SIGNER’S MOOD BOARD. A BAG FROM THE COL­LEC­TION.

ANN-SOFIE JO­HANS­SON OF H&M AND ER­DEM MO­RALI­OGLU DUR­ING THE COL­LEC­TION FIT­TINGS.

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