1947 is a magical year in fashion: any historian or journalist could tell you that. It is a year that represented the coming of the new - the New Look, that is, a sweeping revolution in fashion that wasn't quite so revolutionary, but signalled a return to constructed, exquisite and hyper-feminine clothing. Those are all elements near and dear to Roland Mouret, and for his latest Autumn/Winter collection he looked back to the winter of 1947, when the compacted layers of Dior's New Look luckily coincided with one of the coldest winters on record.
If that makes it all sound stiff and heavy, it wasn't. Mouret gave the illusion of volume and body to his clothes, folding and pleating fabric above and below a waist neatly nipped, all that cinching and pinching giving an hourglass trompe l'oeil to even the skinniest of his models. There were furs, sure, fox swathing shoulders and running down sleeves, but there were also fur prints, gathered down the spine in fluid ruffles. Silk was woven to resemble tweed, slubbed and windowpane-checked in contrasting textures, sometimes cut into bolero jackets with revers that extended to give the impression of that forties wardrobe staple, the stole, albeit with a modern functionality - more of that trompe-ery then. Colours ran from pale sage, ivory and lemon through heathery mauves and purples through grey to black.
Generally, there was a dressed-up feel to this offering, slanting away from the sports and daywear Mouret has focused on in the past. It made sense - if women are going to truss themselves up in a retro hourglass frock it'll probably be after 5pm. Yet, glancing at the images in retrospect, there were also pieces that could easily surface before then, sleek flared trouser-suits with clinging knitwear, and jackets with those folds forming pockets on each hip. A practical way to wear next season's peplum? Whatever next?