For twenty years Roland Mouret has created the most coveted of womenswear collections. The designer has defined the era of the iconic dress which have become known by a single name – Galaxy, Titanium, Moon – and have earned Mouret a reputation as magician, master of structure and silhouette and as a man with an intuitive understanding of the female form.
Mouret was born in Lourdes, France where his father was a butcher. He first learned about fabric while working in his father’s shop, watching the folding of the butcher’s apron and learning to fold it to reveal a clean aspect, seeing the pattern of the blood on the white linen. He learned to cut from watching the way the skin of an animal is sectioned and divided with the knife. A confidence, a directness and boldness, informed his aesthetic and his approach defined by these early memories. Referring to Mouret’s work, renowned British fashion writer Colin McDowell states, “The art of butchery and dress making are comparable as both share a precision of cutting, folding and hand workmanship – and require courage and judgment.”
Years later at his father’s funeral he reconnected with his hometown. “We didn’t drive to the funeral. We walked because it was a beautiful day and I saw all the little streets that contain all my childhood dreams and experiences.” That year he dedicated a collection to his father’s memory and paid tribute to his inspiration in the cut and fold of the clothes he presented. It is these experiences that have directly influenced the physicality of the way Mouret designs. He instinctively drapes fabric on the body rather than drawing sketches. Mouret needs to be close to the shape of the body, interacting with the fabric and form with his hands. The essence of his success, he insists, is the physicality of knowing how a person wants to undress. “Dresses are for undressing. We all dress up to undress”.
Mouret’s work is informed by the diverse experiences of his own life. “I consider my years in Paris, modeling, styling, being part of the social scene all a key part of my make-up. As are the years I have spent in London, opening a café gallery, video directing, and ultimately building my first store under my own name.
My fashion history is well documented. Building success and then losing my name, starting over, building a new unique partnership, getting back my name – it is all part of an inspiring and evolving journey. Today is where we are. You have to learn so much and go so far to understand that the support of the team around you is indispensable and that happiness and simplicity is everything.
Then you take this on to the next stage, which in my case is keeping that fine balance between the personal connection and creating a brand. Both are intrinsically linked for me. That is the paradox.”