London Fashion Week: Roland Mouret redefines eroticism with a collection that calls for women to own their sexuality

Growing up in a French mountain village near Lourdes, Roland Mouret was expected to become a butcher like his father.

But, soon after the country boy absconded to the city, his arduous and often unlikely journey into fashion began.

Mouret attended fashion school in Paris, but eventually dropped out to work as a model, artistic director and stylist before moving to London. And, it was here that he launched his very own label at London Fashion Week 1998.

The designer quickly forged a signature for himself, translating his reverence for the female form into garments that oozed sex appeal and sensuality.

Case in point: In 2005, Mouret unveiled the Galaxy dress that would inevitably make his name. Using the curving female figure as the starting point, the souped up and cinched in gown became near ubiquitous among A-listers with everyone from Cameron Diaz to Scarlett Johansson and Dita Von Teese all wearing it well within a six-month period.

In fact, it proved challenging to find one stylish celeb who wasn’t wearing it. But there in lies the power of Roland Mouret.

The catwalk show was held at the National Theatre on London’s Southbank (Reuters)

This is a designer that loves women and, in return, they love him back.

Over the years, he has become synonymous with body-oriented, high-octane magnetism but it was clear this season that Mouret has become conscious of how women are expected to, and want to, look especially in the wake of #metoo.

He knows a woman’s body well but he has also sensed a shift in how they’re minds have changed.

After two decades of scooped in draping and shaping, Mouret has finally adopted a more laissez faire attitude.

Sex was still at the crux his spring/summer 2019 offering, but this time round the sweeping influence came from the 1974 first softcore porn film Emmanuelle, with its subtext that spoke for women to unapologetically own their sexuality.

So too, the global call for action through movements such as #metoo and #timesup challenged him to redefine eroticism in a way that was empowering to women.

Ultimately, this translated to a collection that had a more relaxed vibe while simultaneously remaining true to the brand’s signature.

Suggestive details like button-down pencil skirts, shoulder baring dresses, thigh-high slits and ultra-plunging necklines meant that women who go to him for Galaxy glamour weren’t disappointed, while freedom was afforded through loose silhouettes, soft tailoring and graphic prints.

Mouret also joined forces with feminist artist Judy Chicago this season, who explored the shift in gender equality and the female form through a series of brooches, necklaces and badges that were decorated with slogans which read “Woman Up.”

Further redefining the expectations of how women should look, Mouret’s cast of models were more diverse than ever before. Most notably, this season’s line-up included Sophia Hadjipanteli – Instagram’s favourite uni-browed model.

Ever evolving to relate to the modern woman, Mouret has once again managed to curate a collection of garments that, while thematic, are technically sound, a delight to look at and even more of a pleasure to wear.

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