We recently wrote about the cult-favorite's limited edition 'Rainbow Project' mini-dresses for Net-A-Porter. Then, reports surfaced that Mouret was designing a menswear collection for 2010.
StyleList caught up with the in-demand designer (dressed in a three-piece suit of his own creation) at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco to discuss all of his new projects -- including chic shapewear -- and to set the record straight on the enduring rumor that he's been designing Victoria Beckham's dress line.
StyleList: The current collection for sale at Neiman Marcus was just shown on your October runway. Do you think instant gratification is where fashion is headed?
Roland Mouret: Yes. We first made the collection available in the middle of November and that's the future of luxury. You see it on the catwalk and you can have it for yourself a month later. It's what the customer wants.
StyleList: What was your inspiration this season?
RM: It's about the ultimate woman. That's where it always starts for me. I was interested in working with soft fabrics, which I haven't done in awhile. But I still wanted to make a powerful dress that gives you this sort of confidence with your body because it pulls you in at all of the right places.
Women are so aware of how they want their bodies to be. The fabrics are really light and have stretch, which gives great movement. It's not haute couture, even though I use couture techniques. It's still practical.
StyleList: You've worked with Victoria Beckham on her dress line. How is it working with her?
RM: I'm not working with her. I never worked with Victoria. I should make a press release [laughs].
StyleList: Well, we can be your press release. Set the record straight.
RM: Victoria and I work with the same company under Simon Fuller. And what I did was I told her I could introduce her to a small factory in England that was doing things for me, and I introduced her to one of my ex-employees and that person became her right hand.
But, really, what I did for Victoria is nothing different than what I did for Jonathan Saunders and so many young designers in London. I'm the kind of person that thinks that fashion is a family, and if you have a problem, I am here to help. But there is a magic with Victoria and I completely understand what she's doing. That woman is one of the most photographed women in the world. She has the resources to be a brand. She represents a new direction of design for the future.
StyleList: But you don't see any similarities in your clothes?
RM: She loves the feminine form, I love the feminine form. But I don't think were doing the same clothes. Victoria's technique is more curt. Mine is less curt. I have less of a problem with her than I have with designers who just remake my 'Galaxy' dress. But the media doesn't talk about that because they'd lose their advertisers. What they call an homage is not flattering. I think it's lazy and it's fraud.
StyleList: Tell us about your RM by Roland Mouret 'Rainbow Project' collection for Net-A-Porter. Looks are much shorter than you usually do.
RM: It's really the same dress from my own collection, but the length is changed. That's all it is. I think the length of a dress just defines an age group. But the dress itself can be for mothers and daughters. It's a mini-dress, but I'm going to bring back mid-calf, actually, because some women say, 'I don't like my legs at all. I'm not gifted with my legs.' But they still like the figure of my dresses.
StyleList: Some of your signature dresses -- the 'Galaxy' and the 'Moon' dress -- have sold-out instantly. Did you think they'd create such a frenzy?
RM: I didn't know that. But one thing is for sure, the shape of my dresses are the feminine form and from young girls that are seven-years-old to a grandmother that's 70, they'll embrace that form. I make clothes for women who enjoy being women. Some women say, 'I'm boyish, I have no hips,' and I say, 'Lets try on one of my dresses.'
Fashion is a language without words, and even though a lot of men don't get the language, they'll come up to me and say that their partner looks beautiful. A man will feel confident and secure with a woman in one of my dresses, while she can keep her own identity, because the dresses have a power in them.
StyleList: And now there's a lot of buzz about you designing for men.
RM: My god, everybody is talking about this [laughs]. I'm showing in January and it's just the other side of the equation. I think of fashion the same way I think of food. A good dinner by yourself is a good dinner, but a good dinner with someone you love becomes a good dinner and great memories.
In fashion, I think when there's more interaction, you have a memory of it. And a lot of women ask me to make something for their partners. And it's interesting. I've arrived in a time in my life where I can't find everything I want. So, why not make it for myself? I love textural fabrics. I've found a lot of the menswear to not have enough texture for my taste. I like the sensuality of fabric and the line is called MR instead of RM, and it's about what it's like to be a 'Mr.' or a mature man in society today.
StyleList: You've also gotten into shapewear with your new "powermesh" dress. Were you not happy with what Spanx offers?
RM: My problem with Spanx is when you take it off and put it on, you have the feeling that you're such a sinner. You just think 'What have I done to be punished like this?' just to struggle to put it on and off. It's claustrophobic.
In the powermesh, there's an invisible zipper and when you get out of it, you can do it in front of your partner. And it's a part of the game. It's something that is French and about the sensuality of the body. The idea of unzipping someone's back is the ultimate. It's a shared experience. That's why I like to make a long zip in the back of my dresses. It's not a peep show, but there's this erotic element. When I design, I think of the other person in the relationship.
Amen to that!