Podcast Ep. 45, ROLAND MOURET, SEX, FASHION, SUSTAINABILITY
EPISODE 45 FEATURES ROLAND MOURET
You probably know about ROLAND MOURET’s famous "Galaxy" dress. Fitted, flattering, cap-sleeved and much-copied, it was a headline-making phenomenon in the 2000s, worn by everyone from Beyoncé and Scarlett Johansson to Demi Moore and Victoria Beckham. Today, it remains a classic and a best-seller. Whether in its traditional pencil-skirted form or more daring iterations, the Galaxy is still worn by some of the world's chicest women. Dita von Teese stepped out in a jumpsuit version last year.
You might also know about another of Mouret's glamorous clients, Megan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex. She wore a chic navy Roland Mouret dress the day before her wedding to Prince Harry.
What is less well-know is this thoughtful designer’s strong interest in sustainability. He has considered the subject deeply, and questioned everything around it, from how and why he makes things, and how that has evolved, to the impacts of over-consumption, the power of fashion to communicate a message and how we can make sustainability hot—and not just hot right now.
We doubt there's anyone better placed to contextualise fashion’s perpetuation of addictive desire than Monsieur Mouret. He has an intrinsic understanding of the desirability of fabulous fashion, and the power of certain clothes to make us long for them. His own design magic lies in making women feel amazing in his clothes. He says a dress doesn't come alive until a woman wears it. Further reading? We like this interview from Forbes in which he says, "I accept all bodies. I cut my dresses and fit on models of every size. The real success is not the dress—it’s the sizing and its consistency.”
This thought-provoking, twisty-turny podcast interview takes us through his early life, from rural French butcher's son, to modelling for Jean Paul Gaultier and Yohji Yamamoto, to tearing up the dance floor at legendary Paris fashion hangout Le Palace.
These days, Mouret finds he's more interested in escaping to the country. “I never thought I would go for that life,” he says. Recorded at his head office in Mayfair, with Dave the dog in tow, we discuss change, reflection, maturing, and the idea that sustainability is now, as he puts it, “so present a problem that we have to face it”.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT...
This interview was recored at Roland Mouret's London flagship at 8 Carlos Place, Mayfair.
The lasting legacy of one's early years. Mouret grew up in the Pyrenees, the son of a small-town butcher. His father wanted him to follow in his footsteps, but Mouret had different ideas. As a kid he felt "trapped in the outfit of the butcher and I didn't want that," he says. But he also credits his early understanding of the simple strength of the apron as informing his feel for cutting and draping fabric today.
"SUSTAINABILITY EXISTs EARLY ON FOR ME. I'M A KID OF THE '60S, I'M A KID OF PARENTS WHO CAME OUT OF THE WAR. I KNOW WHAT IT IS NOT TO THROW AWAY. I KNOW WHAT IT IS TO PASS THE CLOTHES OF MY COUSINS [down] TO ME. [and] I KNOW WHAT IT IS TO LIVE ON A FARM WITH MY GRANDPARENTS WHERE RESPECT [FOR[ THE ANIMALS IS PART OF THE PROCESS OF...SURVIVAL."- roland mouret
The power of evolution and that's it's okay to start late. Roland began his formal fashion designer career at 36. No sweat. Life's a journey.
ECO-AGE. In 2013, Livia Firth joined forces with Net-A-Porter to release the first Green Carpet Challenge capsule collection. It featured 10 gowns from 5 top designers: Roland Mouret, Victoria Beckham, Christopher Kane, Christopher Bailey and Erdem. Said Firth: “We decided early on that the Green Carpet Challenge would work on two levels: on the world’s red carpets to get our favourite A-listers wearing sustainable style in front of the flash bulbs and then deep in the supply chain with real producers all over the world making systemic change. Read more about it here.
COMMON OBJECTIVE (CO) is an intelligent business network for the fashion industry. Building on 10 years of work by the Ethical Fashion Forum, which now reaches a global network spanning 141 countries, the idea is to work in collaboration to take sustainable fashion from niche to norm. It's all about match-making members with the connections and resources & to make it easier for them to work in the most sustainable way.
The Sustainable Angle is a not-for-profit organisation which initiates and supports projects which contribute to minimising the environmental impact of industry and society. In collaboration with model Arizona Muse, In collaboration with Arizona Muse, the Sustainable Angle presented pieces by Alice Temperley, Edeline Lee, Emilia Wickstead, Felder + Felder, Galvan, Georgie Macintyre x Arizona Muse and Roland Mouret at London Fashion Week in February.
ECOVERO is a super-eco type of viscose, produced by Lenzing. They say it sets "the new industry wide benchmark in the sustainability of viscose fibers" by using sustainable wood supplies, significantly lowering water usage, & working hard on supply chain transparency. Read more here.
Later in the podcast, Mouret mentions the freedom he gained to change his business "when I lost my name". In 2005 he split with his backers and lost the right to design under his name. For a while he produced collections under the label RM by Roland Mouret. In 2010, he won back them back via a joint venture of Roland Mouret and Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment.
LE PALACE was a club inside an old theatre on Faubourg Montmartre. It opened on March 1, 1978, with a Grace Jones show, and the waiters in red-and-gold uniforms designed by Thierry Mugler. Says Interview magazine (RIP Interview magazine; so sad you closed, we loved you) - "Le Palace was to France what Studio 54 was to America."
"Paloma Picasso she was completely Spanish aristocracy but on the dance floor she was wild." To gain admission to the club, young Roland dressed in his sharpest zazou suit and parked himself under a streetlight, knowing his dramatic perfection would appeal to the arbiters of cool on the door. Respect.
Thierry Mugler knew the power of the spotlight...
Alberto Giacometti understood it too...
Here's a shot of Roland Mouret in his MODELLING days.
Mouret was an executive producer on the documentary TEN BILLION. Based on Stephen Emmott's hit theatre show, the film is a wake up call to an unprecedented planetary emergency: "The Earth's population is expected to reach 10 billion people by 2050. The consequences will be catastrophic."
"It's about that magic moment when a woman's skin and the fabric come together." - ROLAND MOURET
THE WOMEN IN THE CLOTHES...
A note on our MUSIC: it is by our friend Montaigne, who sang a special acoustic version of "Because I love You" just for us. It's from her album Glorious Heights.
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Until next time,