For spring 2022 Roland Mouret eschewed a live show in favor of a movie, Terma, filmed in Greece this past summer by French-Nigerian actor and director Magaajyia Silberfeld. We might be edging back to IRL shows—London this season is dipping its toe in, while New York went full-on deep dive—yet there’s still mileage to be had from going down the filmic route, as this Mouret/Silberfeld co-production attests.
Of course, it helps if you have a designer like Mouret in charge of the looks. Long a master of narrative drive and emotional draw, he’s also no slouch when it comes to the cinematic gesture. When he launched his label some two decades ago, Mouret’s trademark was the way he would spontaneously wield the scissors, daringly cutting directly into the fabric and molding it onto the body, constructing as he went along. The results were (and remain) enthralling: The pursuit of perfection which never denied the beauty that can arise from imperfection.
Fast forward to today and Mouret’s hand is still very much in evidence. This can only be a good thing. With us gazing at everything through the distancing lens of technology, the sense of the maker at work is more alluring than ever, something only compounded by our current contactless existence. What better than something which bears the evidence of human touch? Mouret’s spring has plenty of that—from the opening look, a white cotton dress, with a whiff of the caftan about it, that has been daubed with naive daubs of color inspired by Aegean resorts, through to the elegant yet never stuffy tops with ‘bow’ necklines (actually artful manipulations of fabric to evoke the sense of tying and draping) to a knockout black sequin jumpsuit that falls like an apron, a Mouret leitmotif which still delivers—and how.
All of that clever manipulation of fabric, which Terma brings into sharp (or maybe that should be soft) relief, is done in pursuit of the dynamism and movement that Mouret aspired to create. That print on the very first look, for instance, was inspired, he says, by the way that when we sit on a beach we instinctively draw patterns in the sand with our hands. Everything here is looser and more relaxed—“earthier,” in Mouret-speak—yet still with his indelible sense of control. In that thoughtful, and intuitive way of his, he’s responding to the moment, and to the women around him who are craving to dress up but in a way which feels free and easy.
And true to form, he’s also thinking about the heroines who inform his work. For spring, that means two women of individual, iconoclastic even, expression, Charlotte Rampling, and the incomparable Nina Simone; those high ruffled necklines, new for him, aren’t a million miles away those which adorned the evening dresses Simone wore while performing at the likes of legendary London jazz venue Ronnie Scott’s. Yet this is a collection which really underscores the sense of intimacy and collusion he feels with those he’s dressing for the here and now. “I’ve been thinking a lot about what fashion’s connection should be to people’s lives,” he says. “And I wanted to make a collection that becomes your best friend; something you can rely on, something that cheers you up.” On the strength of these clothes, consider those goals well and truly achieved.