Erdem on Inspiration and Muses

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We caught up with the talented and, coincidentally very charming Erdem Morialoglu at his trunk show at Barneys yesterday, where he spoke to us about his gorgeous use of prints, the Ballets Russes and Michelle Williams as a muse.

To peruse the Erdem spring collection while the designer spoke of his inspiration ("I did a show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and they gave me full access to their whole collection of Ballet Russes costume, so I spent the summer going through their archives, and this collection is based on that research"), is to imagine him drifting through a fantasy of decadent ballerina confections.

But despite the swirls of romance, Erdem's aesthetic and the process behind each collection is nonetheless grounded in reality (albeit a very beautiful one), and bolstered by smart talent. His signature prints are equal parts wearable and artistic—and their conception is quite a labored process: "I might start with a scrap of 1930s wallpaper, scan it in, print it out, paint over it, scan it in again, manipulate it digitally, print it again, put watercolor over it...I love the idea of using digital print, but it has a very human hand to it, you can't tell if its silkscreen or digital," he said. All this effort translated into cascades of poppy blossoms, ethereal roses paint-stroked on sheer fabrics, and graphic patchworks of sweet cream shades of blue for spring.

In our browsing bliss, we began to wonder about—and wish to be—the Erdem girl. We asked the designer about actress Michelle Williams, who recently appeared at the Blue Valentine London premiere in a ladylike red-lace tea dress from his spring 2011 runway collection. Said Erdem: "We dress all kinds of women...young, old, intelligent—someone who marches to her own drummer. Michelle Williams epitomizes the Erdem girl—a girl like that!"

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