“I’m self-taught. The journey of my work is when I drape. I’m still discovering, still teaching myself.”
It begins with a country boy leaving a French mountain village where he was expected to become a butcher like his father. Yet today, Mouret says. “I have always been this double person. My clothes are for a city life yet in the wools and textures of the countryside.”
He is all about contrasts; the king of the dress who prefers creating separates; the sophisticate who remains true to his earthy roots, the lover of old-style glamour who never copies from the past, “because women want to move, for today.” He has taken his destiny in his own hands. “My future was defined for me. It wasn’t my decision, but in a sense everything that my father taught me in order to become a butcher has made me the designer I am. I respect muscles, bones, fat, how gravity moves flesh. I love bodies, I love curves. And my butcher’s apron was an amazing canvas with which to begin, by folding it around myself.”
When Mouret left the rural South West for Paris, he made an entrance – literally – through the front door of the nightclub of that era; Le Palace. “I told myself if I can get inside, when there are so many people waiting, hoping, in line outside, I can succeed. The women I dress often feel like outsiders, even those who are well-known. I identify strongly with that.”
After ten years living in Paris, he moved to London and decided to create a fashion collection. Mouret had no formal training, but he knew he had the precision to cut, the skill to drape and the courage to combine the two. Fast forward a decade to the Galaxy dress, introduced in 2005. Part of why the Galaxy endures is Mouret’s understanding that different women require different support. “A big breakthrough for me was when I started to understand bras. The back of the dress is solid so you can conceal any underwear you want.”
While Mouret is famous for dresses – including countless red carpet triumphs – he is celebrated among his clients for separates, specifically tops that flatter and trousers that as he put it, “give good bum, why not?” What he wants is to keep things modern for women’s complex lives.
In 2010, rights to the ‘Roland Mouret’ name were acquired by the joint venture of Roland Mouret and Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment. As well as distinguished stockists around the world, there are two Roland Mouret maisons, one in London’s Mayfair, the other on New York’s Madison Avenue. Recent expansion includes the perfume “Une Amourette”.
The key to everything are Mouret’s craftsman’s hands. “I love the way fabric feels. I’m known for drape and structure but I succeed, I think, when the clothes feel comfortable to you …. We all dress up to undress”.