PFW: ROLAND MOURET S/S 2014

We’ve all been there, sitting in a dark room (we won’t ask why) when someone turns on the lights. Your eyes blink in shock, taking a moment for your pupils to appropriately respond to the sudden illumination. That’s rather the effect one experienced watching Roland Mouret’s spring/summer 2014 collection come down the runway this morning. Fortunately, he did everyone’s eyes a favor, since it was still early and half the people in attendance still smelled of last night’s party, by starting with black and white. Even with the monochrome beginning, though, the looks were so stark, that white so incredibly bright on eel skin, that it took one’s eyes by surprise.

This was an unusually sporty collection for Mouret, one that, especially in the beginning, almost looked like a team of referees taking the field at some sporting match. There’s a reason we don’t expect such sportiness from Mouret. Having spent only three months in fashion school (back in 1979 at that), Mouret isn’t one to sketch out a design and then create patterns and start sewing. Rather, he typically starts with a bold of material which he then shapes and folds to his model or dress form. As a result, what we typically get are a beautiful collection of dresses with origami folds delicately curved to the body.

This season, however, one might wonder if Mouret started with a roll of electrical tape rather than fabric. The stripes ran every where, in eel skin, PVC, with patched inserts of sheer materials breaking up the flow. The look was startling, but sexy.

Then, just about the time your eyes adjusted to the stripes, there was a sudden and dramatic infusion of color. Not just one color, mind you, all of them in abstract geometric patterns.Hot pink and jade and sunshine yellow arrived via a cropped-top exercise ensemble that would guarantee one wouldn’t get lost at the gym. After assaulting senses with the head-to-toe look, Mouret blended the colors into neoprene shifts with dropped shoulders.

Finally, there they were, the more familiar origami folds done in beautiful silks and black lace. Even here, however, Mouret doesn’t let go of that electrical tape look, using black nylon straps at every opportunity. Early in his career, Mouret was known for using safety pins to secure his dresses because he didn’t know how to make button holes. With this collection, he seems to have run out of pins and had to reach for the tape. With a couple of the final looks, the nylon is applied as a giant X shape at the hip, very much looking as though the designer had simply grown frustrated and slapped tape on it.

And who knows, maybe that’s exactly what happened.

Roland Mouret is always an exciting and wearable collection and this season certainly doesn’t disappoint. One might want to give some warning, though, before wearing one of these pieces into a room full of boredom. You might put someone’s eyes out.

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