By Leisa Barnett @leisabarnett
Shortly after the unveiling of Roland Mouret’s autumn/winter 2014 collection this morning came the official announcement of his first New York flagship store, which will open this summer on Madison Avenue. Little wonder, then, that the impossibly affable Frenchman – who famously lost then regained control of his own name – has been feeling philosophical.
'I have reached the point where I am doing what I feel passionate about, rather than what I feel is expected of me,' he said. ‘It took me over fifty years to get here today... And what have I learned? Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.’
Roland Mouret is flying.
This morning, his models powered on to the catwalk (‘no hips!’ was the decree from artistic director Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou) in the kind of slim, folded dresses on which Mouret built his name, triangular panels of leather stitched in faux wraps across the front or as angular collars, and in impeccably tailored trousers paired with jackets that boasted stand-away panels with neat notch cuts at the back.
They powered though the tall, silver teepee structures that criss-crossed the catwalk in evening coats stitched of gauzy grids and slinky cocktail dresses, their bodices a-whisper with feathers. Next up came feathered disco pants and shredded leather skirts that swooshed over skinny leather trousers; in other words, Mouret displaying a determinedly strong collection with which to furnish his new rails.
And so to the ever-ethereal Issey Miyake, where the ‘majestic art of the forest’ was the starting point for a collection of easy-wearing wide-legged trousers, coats in colourful jacquards and one really fantastic slouchy beige cowl-necked jumper.
The headline, though, were the pleated pieces, more art than clothes – dresses and tunics, round-shouldered and scalloped-hemmed, in the browns and greens of trees. They were produced using a new ‘steam stretch’ technique, the fabric worked into accordions that bounced away from the body, as if alive.
Isabel Marant took things up-tempo. She had a kind of ski-meets-safari vibe going on: lots of winter white spliced with khaki, gold for party time – with a bit of lumberjack thrown in for good measure via heavy, checked shirt jackets.
A pixelated black wave motif ran through skinny white knits paired with utility pants that knotted at the ankle in a mud-spatter print, while the classic safari shirt was reimagined as a dress, its sleeves rolled up to reveal a flash of sequined tee beneath. The hero piece was the jacket that came in furs and shearlings, sleeveless and tied with little thongs of black leather at the waist, or sharp-shouldered and bolshie. And here’s betting that fur footwear, criss-crossed over with leather straps like hyper-luxe ski boots, will walk itself off the shelves.
Roland Mouret, Issey Miyake, Isabel Marant
Furs were also key at Sonia Rykiel, where Geraldo da Conceicao, who has been at the helm of the label for just over a year now, really kicked things into a new gear. This was
acoherent, confident, joyful collection. Before Miranda Kerr had even stepped her first foot on to the catwalk – in a giant, biscuit-coloured fur that
obscured an actually- really-amazing pair of dropped-crotch knitted pants – the house’s feverish backstage Instagramming had the crowd primed to be impressed. A rose motif and a handwritten ‘moi’ came scrawled across the skirt suits that made up the bulk of the looks, but the mix-and-match slouchy, loungy pieces were the real game-changers: characteristically Rykiel, they looked fresh, modern, and just what we want to be wearing come September.
For Vanessa Bruno, it was all about pockets. Specifically, furry triangular patch pockets that stuck out from the front of slithery day dresses, jutted down from coats that came cropped at the front and long at the back, and even dangled independently on shrugged-on braces.
It was wear-anywhere brilliant the way Bruno always does it – muted animal print spotted everything from oversized bikers to boxy high-necked jumpers, while sportier grey marl pieces came appliquéd with lace. Plus, there were some very lovely party dresses where the fabric was sliced through to peel away from the body slightly, like fish scales. Très cool.
Sonia Rykiel, Vanessa Bruno, Sonia Rykiel