The Erdem Interview
Famed fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu partners with NARS for a free-spirited makeup collection called “Strange Flowers” that captures the romantic, dream-like mood of his ready-to-wear collections.
City: New York City
Creator: Francois Nars
Collaborator: Fashion Designer Erdem Moraliogul
Background: Known for his use of feminine silhouettes, delicate prints and meticulous craftsmanship, Montreal-born, London-based designer Erdem Moralioglu is a fashion star. He trained at London’s Royal College of Art and launched his signature label in 2005.
Celebrity fans: Keira Knightley, Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone
Awards: 2014 British Fashion Council’s Womenswear Designer of the Year, 2016 Fashion Group International Fashion Star Award
Launch: Erdem for NARS ‘Strange Flowers’ Limited Edition Makeup Collection
The quote: “I have always been interested in exploring the codes of femininity, and to me flowers represent the wonderful strength of the feminine.” – Erdem Moraliouglu, Designer, Erdem
The collection: six lipsticks, two blushes, two eyeshadow palettes, lip powder palette, highlighting pencil & blotting papers
Packaging: three original Erdem floral prints
The quote: “I am inspired by things that have character, personality and strong features. They can be a little odd or strange but at the same time beautiful.” – Francois Nars
The Erdem Interview:
BEAUTY the guide: To start, tell me how you approached the collaboration with Francois. How did you two work together? Did you spend time in person or was it a long-distance project?
Erdem: The NARS team is amazing, and so incredibly supportive of my world. Francois is extraordinary, a total visionary. It was amazing to work with him. Throughout the whole process he went through every aspect of this collaboration, so it was amazing.
BTG: How do you approach beauty for your runway shows and ad campaigns? Do you have a signature look that you like to stay loyal to?
Erdem: I design any collection with the idea of a narrative, a story, a character. I can always imagine who she is in my mind, how she walks, how she moves, what she would wear on her face, what she’s wearing on her feet, all of those things. I envision her from head to toe. For the beauty of every show I typically sit down with Val Garland, who I’ve worked with for years along with the NARS Brand for my runway shows. I walk her through the production and we look at every aspect of the collection and take it from there.
To define a signature look is kind of tricky because it really does change from season to season. There is always a slight oddity to it though, depending on the season.
BTG: Describe a typical work day in your life? Do you like to work early in the morning or do you find inspiration late at night?
Erdem: I think no one day is the same! For inspiration I love film, I also love art and photography. I’m constantly looking at visual food, let’s say. Whether it’s going to somewhere like Naoshima and looking at Monet paintings or looking at Robert Mapplethorpe photography or looking at a Visconti film from the 70s. My eyes are always open.
BTG: Your prints and designs have a romanticism to them. What is you all-time favourite movie and Hollywood actress and why?
Erdem: I’m intrigued by narrative and film as I mentioned earlier. I love cinema and Hitchcock and Visconti, and strong actresses like Bette Davis or Romy Schneider. It’s a source of inspiration for me and for this collection – those ideas of beauty but a strong beauty is interesting to me.
BTG: You chose some unexpected shades for this collaboration. How did you decide on marigold and mulberry?
Erdem: For this collaboration, what came to my mind was this idea called Strange Flower. I thought about the four seasons of Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. It helped guide me in terms of thinking about pallet, and even thinking literally about certain plants that grow in certain times of the year and figuring out how certain colors could work with each other. Once those parameters were set in my mind I was very interested in exploring odder shades and new shades as well and that’s how all of these range of colors in the collection came about.
BTG: What is your favorite flower store in the world? What is your favorite flower?
Erdem: My favorite are anemone flowers! I love poppies and roses as well. Favorite flower store would be Fjura.
BTG: How has social media changed the way you communicate your collections and projects like this to your customers?
Erdem: I think how we look at things online has definitely changed. How we view and digest things, and even when you think about everything from fashion to makeup, it’s all immediate. You can see everything immediately. It’s funny because its such a great tool, but there’s a payoff as well. It can almost create a numbness when you are bombarded by imagery all the time.
BTG: Where did you find inspiration for this makeup collection?
Erdem: I had a few different inspirations – one of them was Molly Ringwald. There is an image of her photographed by Sheila Metzner that I find incredible. I was also inspired by my mother and early memories of her putting on bright red lipstick and nothing else. The most overriding inspiration however, was the idea of a kind of flower and individuality. As much as there’s a beautifulness to them, there’s also a strangeness there. Some of the colors are more pretty let’s say, and then some of them are more odd and strange. I like
BTG: What is you single most-favourite item in the collection and why?
Erdem: The Poison Rose Lip Powder Palette is one of my favorites. I wanted to develop something that would be very graphic and bright for the lips, touching upon the early memories of my mother I mentioned earlier. I wanted something that was saturated in color, and the idea of the lip powder came about. It’s something that’s very new to the NARS brand as a product. I love the lip priming balm, and all of the different shades that can be used with it.
BTG: Who is your beauty icon?
Erdem: There’s countless women I find amazing and inspiring for different reasons. To me, I love Molly Ringwald as I mentioned earlier. I’m also inspired by Hitchcock films with heroines like Tippi Hedren. I’m very attracted to strong, powerful, interesting, and intelligent women.
BTG: What advice would you give someone starting their career in fashion today?
I think mainly being patient with your growth and understanding that going at a slower pace is better than getting big really quickly. It’s important because you have more control that way – how your product is made,
Erdem: I think an important lesson is patience and understanding that growing at a slower pace is good — not to get too big too quickly. I think patience is important because you can control things from the beginning, how your product is made and even how its sold. Controlled growth is a good thing.
Erdem for NARS ‘Strange Flowers’ Collection
Poison Rose Lip Powder Palette, $62
Night Garden Eyeshadow Palette, $62
Fleur Fatale Eyeshadow Palette, $62
Blush in ‘Loves Me’, $38
Blush in ‘Loves Me Not’, $38
Multi-Use Hightlighting Pencil in ‘White Fox’
Mattifying Blotting Papers
Carnal Carnation – sheer raspberry red
Bloodflower – bright red cherry
Wild Flower – deep plum purple
Moon Orchid – sheer light pink
Voodoo Lily – sheer muted lavender
Larkspur – sheer orchid
NARS Beauty is available in Canada at select Hudson’s Bay stores and thebay.com