Erdem’s AW19 collection inspired by an Italian princess

Internationally acclaimed designer Erdem paid tribute to a distinguished Italian historical personality in his latest collection that went on show at London Fashion Week last month.

Rome’s Princess Orietta Doria Pamphilj was the inspiration behind Erdem’s Autumn/Winter 2019 (AW19) Ready-To-Wear Collection, which debuted with a stunning catwalk at the National Portrait Gallery on 18 February.

The London-based Turkish-Canadian designer took his cue from Princess Orietta, who inherited her family’s magnificent ancestral home, a 1000-room palazzo (palace) on Via del Corso, which was built for her ancestor Pope Innocent X in the seventeenth century.

Erdem searched for clarity on the ‘Legacy of Inheritance’ in his collection, just as Princess Orietta did when she came to control one of the largest estates in Europe comprising Princedoms, palaces, castles and churches.

Hailing from one of Italy’s greatest noble families, Princess Orietta was expected to become a nun. Instead, she returned to Rome influenced by the liberation and activism of 1960s London where she had been living. She dedicates the remainder of her life in maintaining these opulent buildings, while also allowing the public to access them.

Erdem imagines the pressure Princess Orietta must have felt by her ancestors to protect their legacy.

“What I liked about this story was the sense of the heavy weight of history, and how it plays out in this woman’s clothes,” the designer told The Guardian.

The meeting of two strikingly different worlds in one silhouette underpinned Erdem’s latest collection. Models on the runway were stepping into the shoes of the Italian princess as she walked along the endless corridors of her huge Rome palace trying to marry the grandeur and propriety of her noble life with the wildness and eccentricity she had borne witness to in London.

The AW19 collection included evening dresses and trousers suits in variety of colours such as pink, red, green, blue, yellow, white, and black. Erdem embroidered some of the gowns with feathers or ribbon, adding tulle face covers and leather gloves to complete the look. His signature, floral pattern again sparkles in the collection.