People

The Art of the Cut:
Meet Roland Mouret

Photographed by Hanna Tveite
Portraits by John Clayton Lee

“We can all dress the same, but what separates people is the way they carry themselves,” says Roland Mouret. An elegant, enviable posture is but one benefit of wearing the Lourdes-born, London-based designer’s creations: instinctively draped, ingeniously tucked, and economically seamed garments that express an intuitive understanding of the female form.

Mouret’s artful cuts are rooted in the decisive—if far less glamorous—slicing practiced by his late father, who worked as a butcher in Lourdes, France. “I sculpt the fabric straight from the body as my father, with his dexterity, worked the meat,” explained the designer, 55, during a recent visit to The Apartment by The Line in Los Angeles. “I learned from my dad not to be frightened and to go for it—to cut.” The butcher shop also provided an early education in strategic folding. He recalls watching his father adjust his apron throughout the day so as to conceal burgeoning blood stains and reveal clean expanses of white linen.

The butcher’s son soon made his way to Paris, arriving in the city at age 18, and later moved on to London. A variety of jobs in and around the world of fashion took the place of formal education. “I consider my years in Paris—modeling [for Jean-Paul Gaultier, among others], styling, being part of the social scene—all a key part of my make-up,” said Mouret. “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.”

“There is something about the body shape that’s become part of my signature silhouette,” says Mouret, pictured here during a recent visit to The Apartment by The Line in Los Angeles.
The sensuality of this dress still allows the woman to be seen when she wears it. You see the woman, not the dress.Roland Mouret
  • Who is the Roland Mouret woman? “She is constantly on the move and requires a wardrobe to take her from place to place,” says the designer.

The Roland Mouret collection debuted in 1997. All of the pieces were entirely handmade: wool draped onto dress forms and pinned into place, without a sleeve or trouser in sight (Mouret hadn’t yet mastered tailoring—or patternmaking). He was a quick learner and gained momentum by building upon his sculpted aesthetic, earning acclaim for his out-of-this-world “Galaxy” dress. After parting ways with his financial backers (and briefly, his own name), he struck a joint-venture deal with entrepreneur and television producer Simon Fuller in 2006. Today, Mouret’s maison is headquartered in London’s Mayfair, where his light-filled atelier is just steps away from the ground-level boutique. He also serves as creative director of Robert Clergerie.

A neighborhood “secret garden” was among the inspirations for Mouret’s resort 2017 collection. “Mount Street Gardens is a hidden gem tucked away in Mayfair, somewhere I can go to escape the hustle and bustle of London’s busy streets,” he said. “It’s an unexpected botanical world right in the heart of London, and this translates into my resort collection.”

He supplemented seasonless neutrals with vivid, fresh-from-the-garden hues, several varieties of lace, and even a flock of digitally printed butterflies, while remaining true to his feminine, flattering signature shapes. “For me, draping directly onto the female form is the only way to fully understand the potential of the silhouette,” added Mouret. “It creates movement, which is very important when designing for the modern woman.”

Roland Mouret Segal Cardigan and Arreton Skirt

Styling Gabrielle Marceca
Hair and Makeup Kim Weber