Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography
San Francisco receives plenty of credit for being innovative and having talented chefs but rarely for its fashion. Yet clearly there is a great sense of style in the city and that was evident when the San Francisco Opera Guild and Saks Fifth Avenue San Francisco presented Fashion Forward: An Evening with Erdem on March 25 at Pier 27, the new San Francisco Cruise Terminal. The event marked the celebrated designer’s first runway fashion show in San Francisco and showcased his Fall/Winter 2015 collection, unveiled last month at London Fashion Week.
“We were so excited to bring Erdem to San Francisco,” a visibly-pleased Charlot D. Malin, president of the Guild said at the VIP after party. “We do not get enough fashion runway events in San Francisco. We are the first partner with Erdem on the West Coast. This is huge for us and huge for San Francisco.”
Malin, along with event co-chairs Claire Fluhr and Anne Marie Massocca as well as many of the other females in attendance, donned the creations of the designer who was named ‘Womenswear Designer of the Year Award’ at the 2014 British Fashion Awards and “Designer of the Year” at the 2015 ELLE Style Awards in London last month. Erdem Moralioğlu, who goes by his first name, counts Keira Knightley, Kate Middleton and Sophie Hunter, the stylish wife of Benedict Cumberbatch, among his fans. He has plenty of admirers in San Francisco too.
Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter
Also on hand for Erdem’s San Francisco debut were Robert Arnold-Kraft, Gregory Malin, Barbara Brown, Vanessa Getty, Karen Kubin, Deepa Pakianathan, Komal Shah, Sobia Shaikh, Olivia Hsu Decker, Willie Brown, Sonya Molodetskaya, Brenda Zarate, Jorge Maumer, J. Riccardo Benavides, Lora DuBain, Wilkes Bashford, Jean Larette, Kitty Cowles, Lorre Erlick, Kevin Sessums, Daru Kawalkowski, Mary Beth Shimmon, Carolyn Chandler, Alan Morrell and many more style savvy folks.
Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter
The swank affair began with a cocktail reception catered by Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, followed by the runway fashion show featuring 41 looks, a brief live auction—Fashion Week in London went for $11,000, a dinner for 10 created by Chef Michael Tusk of Quince in Mary and Bill Poland‘s mansion in Marin went for $9,000 and the Opera Ball Opening Night Extravaganza brought another $8,000—then the after-party for guests who bought the higher-priced tickets.
Fashionistas shelled out $10,000 for two center first-row seats and those who splurged on the top three packages were invited to an exclusive VIP brunch with Erdem on March 26. Afterwards, he’ll meet and mingle with the public from 1-3 p.m. at Saks Fifth Avenue Union Square while the trunk show collection will be available for viewing on Friday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Erdem will make the most of his visit to San Francisco. At the after party, he was overheard telling people he planned to check out High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, on exhibit at the Legion of Honor through July 19, and go sailing on the Bay. He also said designing his latest collection brought him great joy.
His eponymous ready-to-wear brand, established in London in 2005, has come to be synonymous with versatile yet powerful femininity. Known for his use of experimental textiles, vibrant prints and detailed craftsmanship, Erdem has created a beautiful world of the delicate mixed with the bold.
For his latest collection, models in Nicholas Kirkwood ankle boots pranced down the runway at Pier 27 runway to the soundtrack of La Dolce Vita wearing vibrant jacquard dresses, a jacket and skirt in black cutwork leather, uninhibited short skirts of distressed fil coupe, flounced mini dresses in thread patchwork with phosphorous accents and ostrich feathers, redolent of a spirited Claudia Cardinale character, and rounded shoulder outerwear worthy of Kim Novak. The theme of texture through tailoring was evident with hounds tooth Italian tweed left raw and frayed. For the close, there were long dresses with a speckled narrow engineered rib knit, transmuting seamlessly into a fil coupe gown of unexpected volume and adorned with ostrich in a declaration of tenacity, achieving enduring allure through adversity.
While most designers come out to wave to the crowd after the last model is off the stage, Erdem sprinted from one backstage entrance to the other. Asked by auctioneer Lenny Broberg to return, this time the designer stayed for a full second or two. He may have seemed shy but at the after-party, he was anything but, happily mingling with all of the guests and posing for many photos.
The evening benefits San Francisco Opera Guild’s innovative and impactful music education programs which have served children in Bay Area schools for over 75 years. Annually, more than 50,000 students in nearly 200 schools throughout Northern California receive the benefits of arts education as only opera can deliver.