Known as The Master of Drapery , Angela Beitz catches up with French designer Roland Mouret Enchante…
I’m in the Boulevard Suite at Vida Hotel, Dubai and am greeted by Roland Mouret
with a kiss on each cheek. He’s the George Clooney of the fashion world: tall, dark and incredibly handsome. This is not the first time I’ve met Mouret, yet his charm wins me over again and I’m left feeling like a giddy schoolgirl.
For over a decade, Mouret has created some of the most coveted womenswear collections. The designer has defined the era of the iconic dresses, which have become known as a single name – Galaxy, Titanium, Moon. These dresses have earned Mouret the reputation of a magician, master of structure and silhouette and as a man with an intuitive understanding of the female form.
Mouret is in Dubai to promote his Resort 17 collection, which is bold, yet colourful and looks towards the beauty behind botanical gardens for inspiration. The eponymous collection is injected with geometric silhouettes and a kaleidoscopic colour scheme of fuschia pink, aqua blue and pastel accents set against monochromatic tones of black, crisp whites, grey and shiny metallics.
“The whole inspiration for the Resort collection was the Chelsea Flower Show in London,’ he tells me matter-of-factly. “Flowers, flowers, flowers, I’m a big fan of that show and I loved the contrast of the contradiction between strong bold coloured florals and soft, pastel blooms. I was really attracted to that.” For this collection, Mouret introduces the new cape for the season; free-spirited, sleeves slip off the shoulder and generous straps sit on the collarbone – it takes you from the freedom of the day to the mystery of the night, a most versatile piece that
should be a staple in every woman’s wardrobe.
When describing who the Roland Mouret woman of today is, the designer explains she’s the same woman from over 10 years ago. “She’s a woman who enjoys to be a woman and who loves to try on clothes. She has her struggles on a day-to-day basis but she deals with it and gets on with things. She is every woman, I have no specific woman in mind, only her qualities, her independence and her style brings them all together. She has evolved beautifully, she knows who she is,” he explains. Mouret has an innate understanding of women and the female form. He instinctively drapes fabric on the body rather than drawing sketches. He likes to be close to the shape of the body, interacting with fabric and form with his hands.
He has a very intimate and technical purity when putting a collection together. 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.”
Behind every successful designer, is a host of predecessors who once lent their magic and sartorial secrets to budding designers at a time when their names were yet to be up in lights. When talking about designers who he looks up to, Mouret speaks of two in particular. “I’ve had some true masters teach me such as Yohji Yamamoto and Azzedine Alaia. I admire Alaia’s integrity, his attitude and even his temper. He knows how to dress women and they love it. He is my absolute idol (along with Yohji Yamamoto) and he even inspired me when it came to my first store. I’m also a huge fan of Chanel. I also really like Christopher Kane and what he’s doing for fashion, I’ve watched his career from the beginning,” he says.
Mouret has been to Dubai several times and describes it as an interesting emerging market. “I think you can see from the young designers here that they are really trying to establish themselves with an identity and are trying to find ways to export their product, which was a similar struggle I had in the 90s,” he recalls.
But from that struggle unfolded a glittering raft of celebrity names attached to his own, after years of hard work and dedication. From Cameron Diaz to Michelle Obama and The Duchess of Cambridge, they are all huge fans of his designs and have been regularly seen dressed to the nines in his pieces. “I don’t have anyone in particular in mind who I’d like to see wearing my dresses. I’m not trying to run after the ones I don’t have, especially when I am so lucky that I get to dress so many celebrities. I don’t worry about the ones I don’t have, I don’t care, one day she will come. I just feel so lucky and I must be doing something right.”