Behind the Nars Strange Flowers collection with fashion designer Erdem

Behind the Nars Strange Flowers collection with fashion designer Erdem

Ain't no shrinking violets

Text: Angelyn Kwek

The latest name in Nars’ stable of high-profile collaborators, Erdem lends his aesthetic to the new summer collection, Strange Flowers, and shares the BTS on what it’s like developing his first makeup edit

Whoever thought florals were passé are folks who have never laid eyes on an Erdem. Celebrated not only for vibrant printed blooms but also for experimental textiles and detailed craftsmanship, Erdem (both the man and the brand) is all about clothing oneself in versatile yet powerful femininity. And having shown the latest FW18 collection at London Fashion Week recently, the ornate florals proved superlative once again, spun with a touch of '20s and '30s Art Deco — a vibe that was translated from dresses to faces thanks to Nars.

From soft, smokey eyes to red-hued lips and pin-up waves, the models were flapper girls made modern, a look created in equal parts by Erdem and Nars with their collab makeup effort, the Strange Flowers collection. A brand new limited edition range featuring dreamy yet edgy colours, this is fashion-meets-beauty done right, what with several years of the two working closely together backstage. In fact, the finished product will have makeup junkies clasping their hands to their hearts just from looking at the images.

Erdem for Nars Strange Flowers collection

While there's no denying how gorgeous Strange Flowers turned out (like, we want everything), how exactly does it work for a fashion designer to cross over to the beauty end of things? Well, it's defo more than just slapping his name on the packaging and calling it a day. On taking his relationship with Nars to the next level and what it's like dressing up a makeup collection, the Canadian-Turkish designer gives the inside deets:

What was your inspiration for the collection?
I was thinking about this idea of a strange flower, and I wanted to create a range of makeup that had an ethereal and slightly surreal beauty to it. There's an amazing photograph of Molly Ringwald taken by Sheila Metzner for Vanity Fair in 1984 where she's surrounded by exotic flowers which was a starting point for the inspiration. 

Why did you decide to work with Nars? Why now? 
I have been working with Nars in a creative capacity since 2013. It has always been thrilling to collaborate with their makeup artists and now to develop actual makeup is beyond exciting.

Erdem for Nars Strange Flowers collection

There is a floral theme to the collection. Why was it important for you to include this style element in the collection?  
I have always been interested in exploring the codes of femininity, and to me flowers represent the wonderful strength of the feminine.

What was your creative process in developing this collection? Was it similar to creating a seasonal fashion collection?  
It was a similar process to when I design my catwalk collections. I developed the collection from this idea of a woman and a story of this strange flower, and the oddities that appear in nature and its palette.

Can you tell us about the colour palette for the collection? Are these signature Erdem colours? 
Again, it's this idea of contrast which runs through all of my work. The aspect of the feminine juxtaposed with something slightly dark, which is an extension of my aesthetic. The colour palette combines delicate colours which may be more associated with the feminine such as lilacs and blush, but contrasts them with more unexpected hues like the yellow or deep burgundies.

Erdem for Nars Strange Flowers collection

How did you combine the Erdem aesthetic with the Nars brand?
It was interesting to explore my aesthetic in collaboration with Nars and to see how far we could push different elements through product and colour. My work is a fine balance between the delicate and the bold, and always celebrates the feminine, which is what I strived to bring to this collection.

Do you have a favorite product and colour? 
I am so happy with all of the products we developed but I love the lip powder — it's so saturated and feels very new.

In your opinion, what is the link between beauty and fashion?
Fashion is a form of self-expression and beauty if an extension of this. Both allow us to dream and become different versions of ourselves.

Erdem for Nars Strange Flowers collection

The Erdem for Nars Strange Flowers collection will be available from May