Usually deigning to show during the haute couture season, for Autumn/Winter 2009 Roland Mouret showed his somewhat unwieldly-monikered new label 'RM by the designer Roland Mouret' as part of Paris pret-a-porter week. The climate couldn't have been more right for Mouret to make his debut, obsessed as this season is with that particular brand of suck-and-jut tailoring, drapery and a predilection for all things distinctly couture and specifically French that Mouret has made his very raison d'être.
Mouret's tailoring, indeed, has always been suctioned, but the darted and folded dresses that caused a furor a few years hence have quite naturally begun to date. His tailoring leitmotif this time was what he termed TTD (Tunic/Top/Dress), a multifunction garment that came layered over and under trousers and skirts. This set the tone - naturally, this dress couldn't clench quite so closely as before, and it was when Mouret loosened up that things got interesting. He first made his name with exquisite demi-couture dresses crafted from a raw length of cloth twisted with a clothespin, and there were touches of that simplicity and innate chicness in sleeveless tops, the volume of their folded necks caught with simple silver hatpins. With everyone slicing seams and stretching already-stretch fabric to drum-taut breaking-point, Mouret's softer touches of unstructured knits and folds looked refreshing. Ditto his knits, a new excursion, embossed like alligator in aubergine, grey and occasionally an ombre fading through jade green to turmeric yellow. Worn with the ease of a sweatshirt above a loden pleat-yoked skirt, they suddenly made so many other offerings seem trite and tortured.
Perhaps it was too summery an offering for what is shaping up to be a harsh winter destined to cull the wheat from the chaff, particularly where retail is concerned. In that respect, however, Mouret very sensibly has his eyes on the prize: his show programme announced not only the date of the show but, cannily, the first date those items seen will be delivered to buyers.