Imagine Queen Elizabeth II as a young woman dancing the night away in a Harlem jazz club and you have the inspiration behind the Erdem Spring/Summer 2018 collection. Erdem Moralioglu spent a summer working in the Queen's wardrobe with curator of the Royal Collections, Caroline de Guitaut, at Windsor Castle; it was there that he heard the story of the Queen's meeting, in 1958, with the late American jazz pianist, Duke Ellington. The designer incorporated elements of this historic moment into his collection, all the while imagining what would happen if Her Majesty and 1950s icons Dorothy Dandridge and Billie Holiday traded places.
A showcase of '50s-style full skirts, brocade, sequins, tailored pencil skirts and dresses, as well as Argyle cardigans and equestrian jackets in Prince of Wales check, of course, Erdem's previous studies of gowns alongside royal couturier Norman Hartnell also paid off – structured dresses in magnificent reels of tulle, rich jewel-tone brocades and heavy silks were scattered with crystals and pearls and worn with elbow-length gloves.
The Old Selfridges Hotel setting, dimly lit and made up to resemble a jazz club, made it easy to see how these looks could be worn for all-night dancing on either side of the Atlantic, in any era. And to close the show? 'The Queen's Suite', a piece of music written for Her Majesty by Duke Ellington and only played twice before in history; one would approve.