Despite being nearly 3,500 miles apart, New York and London are experiencing similar heat waves this week, with 90-degree temperatures and thick humidity. It’s the kind of weather that calls for as little clothing as possible—and Roland Mouret has a particularly breezy idea. As part of his new DIY tutorial series on Instagram, he’s showing us how to make a (virtually weightless) halter top using just a silk scarf. Later in the month, he’ll share at-home hacks for sarong skirts, fabric bags, and more summery tops, too.
The DIY project was initially inspired by warm places, but not necessarily urban cities. Mouret wanted to create items that channel the spirit of our summer vacations, without actually traveling—or buying anything at all. “I think we’re learning how good quarantine was for the planet, since no one is flying, and how it allowed us to think about creativity without producing anything new,” he explained on a call. “I’ve been finding pleasure in doing things I’ve never done before, and things that make me feel happy. I wanted to show people how to make clothes themselves, without asking anything of them.”
The scarf-turned-halter top was inspired by Mouret’s grandmother, who he grew up visiting in the South of France. “It was the first thing she showed me how to make,” he says. Below, he shared the step-by-step instructions; he suggests stitching ribbons to the corners of the scarf for length, then sliding a ring around the top to hold its shape. (After trying it myself, I found that if your scarf is long enough, you don’t need the ribbons; you can just knot the silk around your neck and waist.) “It’s the most simple [process],” he says, “and when you’re done, you can just take off the ribbons, and it’s a scarf again.”Photo: Courtesy of Roland Mouret
Mouret is rolling out eight tutorials through August, and each will be available by request via Instagram DM. He gave Vogue Runway an exclusive look at two more below: a top made from a scarf and a necklace, and a mini bag inspired by Japanese bento wrapping. “I had this square of denim at my house, and went to the market for a bit of chain, then just knotted the corners,” he says. “It has that South of France feeling, and it fits your iPhone and some makeup.”
Mouret’s tutorials nod to his signature red carpet draping, but also to his earliest memories of women’s style in Greece and Aix-en-Provence in France. “I’ve always been influenced by the way those women dress, and how they use what’s around—a scarf, a necklace—for a drink on the terrazzo,” he says. “There’s a magic in that simple attitude.”
There’s also a feeling of spontaneity and resourcefulness in wearing a top that isn’t even a top, even better if it’s actually a scarf you’d long forgotten about: “You start to realize you have the ability to make something with nothing,” Mouret adds. “All of [these materials] are around us, or we can find them at a flea market… You don’t always need to go to a luxury shop or online to buy a product. As a designer, it’s been a pleasure to [show] people how to make things.”Photo: Courtesy of Roland MouretPhoto: Courtesy of Roland MouretPhoto: Courtesy of Roland MouretPhoto: Courtesy of Roland Mouret