In 1862 Abraham Lincoln passed the Homestead Act, which gave single women and widows the right to their own plots of land in the so-called ‘badlands’ beyond the boundaries of the thirteen original colonies. Tough conditions, hardship and mental illness were often the price being paid by these women, to whom Erdem dedicates a collection with a Victorian feel packed with long flouncy dresses in lace, crochet and other finely embroidered fabrics. This was a romantic yet harsh and, in certain cases, punitive wardrobe. The dresses were high-necked and gathered according to the fashion of the time and they had long sleeves or black ribbons tied around the neck, but lower necklines also featured, on dresses that bared the shoulders, the décolleté and at times even the midriff in crop tops with matching long skirts. Transparencies and floral motifs softened the dark side of the mood.