Tag Archives: Colin McDowell

In Conversation: Colin McDowell Chats With Erdem

Last night I was honoured to attend the last leg of the hugely successful Fashion Fringe road show, where the lovely Colin McDowell chatted with his former student Erdem Moralioğlu at the Royal College of Arts in front of around 200 people. The roadshow has been geared at students and prospective Fashion Fringe entrants, so I was fortunate that the lovely Fashion Fringe team didn’t mind a blogger crashing the lecture theatre as I found the hour-long talk truly inspiring and entertaining, the banter between Colin and Erdem was really charming.

Erdem was lovely and relaxed chatting about his twin sister, who he “respects and admires”, his first flutters into fashion in Canada, the prospect of active service in Turkey as his father is Turkish, the exciting news that he has just bought a house with his partner of nine years who he met while at the Royal College of Arts, how he deals with press, as well as giving an insight into the workings of his fashion label and his career so far. It really did seem that there was no subject off limit.

I have followed Erdem’s career for a number of years, like most women I am consumed with how gorgeous and elegant his designs are, they truly are divine, each gown just has femininity and gracefulness that I don’t think is rivalled by anyone else. It has been a little from the distance until last night, I haven’t been to one of Erdem’s shows, I haven’t seen his designs at a press day, and sadly I have no gorgeous floral prints in my wardrobe, but hearing his lovely story gives me hope that one day all those things will happen.

If you, like me was hoping that one day there would be a H&M, Debenhams or another high street collaboration in the works – think again. “It’s never been the right moment,” said Erdem. “If it works for some people, then that’s wonderful – but it depends on where you’re at. For me, it’s really important to concentrate on your collection and your own work. Once you start looking at versions of your work, it can get a bit dangerous. One can do it really well and in an interesting way though.”

For budding fashion designer’s Erdem’s is a little unconventional, he actually only did one internship, which lasted three months at Vivienne Westwood, which he said “was wonderful” as he was left in the archives with all the lovely corsets. But he did add that the experience did give him “direction”. From the RCA Erdem relocated to New York to be a “design assistant, assistant, assistant to Diana von Furstenberg”, a paid gig that he only did for a year, “I adored New York, but I had no intentions on staying. But it was there that I realised that I had to start my own label.”

It was shortly after coming back to London that he entered Fashion Fringe, which he eventually went onto win, and it was sweet hearing how proud he was of the collection. He also recounted his favourite show the year after winning FF, “The show was at the V&A it was crazy as the catwalk started in the gift shop, and hair and make-up was by the Chinese vases. But I was standing on my own two feet for the first time.”

Since then success hasn’t been handed to him, it took American retailer Barneys to take notice and buy up his collection that really made UK stockists come on board, and now his line is sold around the world in every notable high-end department store from Harrods to Liberty’s. But he did add that “it was hard for the first couple of seasons”, noting that people just remember that Michelle Obama wore his skirt five years ago!!!

As well as discussing his fashion inspirations, his background, and his love of the RCA, he also gave insight into his business. The most amazing revelation was that the majority of the manufacturing is done right here in Britain and how he totally recommends it. I know that is a little geeky of me but I do love hearing that designers like to keep things local.

Everything from the evening has made me want to know more about Erdem – such a great idea from Fashion Fringe to hold these intimate events that I hope that they do a lot more.

**Thanks to Fashion Fringe for inviting me, and I am so sorry for the poor pics – I was so consumed with the conversation I kind of forgot to take any pictures except these on my Blackberry**

Somerset House: Masters of Style – Italian Fashion

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to enjoy a special preview of the new exhibition at Somerset House, Masters of Style: Celebrating The Stories Behind Italian Fashion, with the legend that is Colin McDowell who was completely lovely and has done a great job as curator of this fab exhibit.

The photographic exhibition, sponsored by Peroni Nastro Azzurro brings together the archives of six Italian fashion houses, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Missoni and Prada, to celebrate the passion, flair and creativity of Italian style, and I just loved it.

What I loved most about this exhibition were the details. I adored the layout, the white pods and their transparent divides made me feel like I was walking through winding narrow streets in Italy, where if you looked through your eye captured another image. The exhibition is more than just photos, which on its own is amazing as each designer personally chose their favourite images, and there is commentary from Colin, the designer, and the photographers, giving real insight into those defining moments.

I took a few snaps of my favourite shots. But trust me you have to take in the whole exhibition you will love it!! Be quick though as this amazing display of iconic pictures is only on until August 14, book your tickets here.


This advert from 1967, chosen by Frida Giannini, “Made in Italy – always at the heart of Gucci”, just says everything you need to know about Gucci for me. I love the quality of the handbag against the iconic backdrop.


The Prada section was one of my favourites, and I have chosen this shot by Albert Watson from the S/S 1989. What I love about this advert is you are drawn to the bridge of her back, followed by the silk dress, and then the logo embossed purse, I really love the sensual luxury of the story, I bet it would have looked amazing in a magazine.


From the Missoni collection I have gone for this gorgeous illustration by Antonio Lopez from A/W 1983-84, I have to be honest this was the hardest to choose, as every single  one was so lovely and bright. By including Missoni it really does add something different to the exhibition, next to the minimal vibe of Armani, the heritage of Dolce & Gabbana, and the sexy pictures of Gucci, and the colours of Missoni breaks it up a bit.

Dolce & Gabbana

From the A/W 1989-90 campaign shot by Steven Meisel, I love how these images of Isabella Rossellini portray the drama and emotion that I love from Dolce & Gabbana adverts. I chose these pics as to me they really spoke to me about the heritage of what the brand is known for. Also, does it get more Italian than a woman being emotional with her hands?


I find that fashion brands fuse closely with cinema, and this shot captured by Peter Lindbergh for the A/W 1992-93 campaign is perfection.

“I am a huge fan of cinema, and sometimes an outfit suggests drama. This black dress is a case in point. But for me drama is not about excessive styling or decoration, but about the way a piece interacts with its wear – how it hands and moves, what it suggests,” Giorgio Armani.

Salvatore Ferragamo

Whereas the other fashion houses displayed mostly pictures with models, what I loved about Ferragamo is that their campaigns concentrate on the quality and luxury of its accessories. How amazing is this shot from the S/S 1997 campaign taken by Giovanni Gastel, I love how the bag has been wrapped in a scarf, the ultimate gift and I want it!!