Bahrain Confidential had the privilege of chatting with the masterminds behind the ERDEM x H&M collection, Ann-Sofie Johansson and Erdem Moralıoğlu.
How did the ERDEM x H&M collaboration all come about?
I was so excited to be asked to collaborate with H&M. It happened fairly easily, after a few conversations with Ann-Sofie Johansson, and it’s so amazing to follow in the footsteps of people they have collaborate with in the past, such as Comme des Garçons or Lanvin. The idea that people who don’t know what I do will become familiar with my work feels extraordinary. To be honest I’m only just coming to terms with the scale of what we’re doing.
You’ve also created a teaser film for the collaboration with Baz Luhrmann, can you tell us more about this?
It was such a thrill to work with Baz. He is one of the greatest storytellers of our time, and we both share a love of narrative in everything that we do. We wanted to give a real taste of ERDEM X H&M when we announced the collaboration, so we created the teaser film. The full campaign is like a whole movie in itself, and I’m so excited for everyone to see it.
Tell us more about the process, how did you translate your style to this collaboration especially in the menswear collection?
It was such a joy designing the men’s collection. For me it was a completely different process, because women’s for me is so deeply based in narrative and story. With men’s, I was thinking about what I wear, as well as my childhood and youth, and what my father wore. I loved the idea of creating a men’s group of clothes that could be absorbed by women too. It’s great to think of a woman taking the fleece from the men’s collection and wearing it over the sinuous sequined slip dress.
What types of fabrics and colour palettes have you worked with in this collection?
I was determined that everything in ERDEM X H&M should be beautiful, with no compromise. It was great to introduce H&M to many of the small mills that I always work with, such as Harris Tweed, who they are working with for the first time. There’s something so wonderfully authentic about working with a traditional old mill, and it’s great to have that character and history in this collection. The colour palette is very much that of an English country mansion, with greens and browns, florals and a feeling of timelessness.
The collection looks incredible! Do you have a favourite piece?
I’m proud of the whole collection, but I’d have to say my favourite piece would be the beautiful women’s double-breasted suit. When we were fitting the men’s collection, I put the men’s single-breasted suit on our female fit model. It looked so wonderful and relevant, we had to make a version for women. It’s recut to be double-breasted so that it has an even more masculine shape, and the trousers are cut with a high-waist, and are boyish and wide. It’s such a special piece that can be worn in so many ways, either formally or nonchalantly thrown over your shoulders.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I have always been fascinated about fashion, arts and even archeology since I was a child. Therefore, it felt very natural for me to have my academic studies in fashion. Back then, I was also working at an H&M store and a couple of years later I joined the design team in the Head Office as designer assistant. I think I have always been very curious about fashion and this curiosity is something that had always been with me from the very beginning.
Tell us more about the collaboration, where did you draw the inspiration for this collection?
The idea was to capture the soul and DNA of the ERDEM brand and to introduce his design aesthetics to our customers. Rich fabrics, lovely embellishments and vivid florals are all part of Erdem´s signature style that had to be part of the collection for H&M. The whole collection is very versatile, you can easily dress it up or dress it down depending on different occasions. For example, you can mix the lace blouses or the long dresses from this collection with a masculine style blazer over your shoulders to get the look. This “twin” feeling between men and women – the mix between both genres – is something he had explored for us and enriches the collection.
What do you think makes H&M a distinctive successful brand in today’s overly crowded fashion world?
I believe that H&M is distinctive for offering fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. We love bringing fashion to the world, making it affordable to everyone and thanks to our wide offering, everyone can explore his / her personal style in our stores, which makes me feel very proud! Our designer collaborations are another great example of strengthening our brand as fashion brand and proving that design is not a matter of price.
Who inspires you most in fashion?
For me it is impossible to point out one single person that inspires me the most. Of course, the latest trends from the runways and well known designers are something I follow every day, but the fashion I see in the streets when I travel around the world is something that inspires me a lot. Men style is also a true inspiration for me.