Roland Mouret is the 36-year-old Frenchman with the vision that began the People Corporation, but he is by no means the sole creative force. He helped launch the Soho cafe/bar/club/theatre, Freedom, in March 1994, where he works as creative director. And now Freedom, which caters for a cosmopolitan crowd, has become the inspiration for Mouret's own clothing line which he launched there last October.
"We wanted a place that was more than British," he says, "a place that in its simplicity could become extraordinary." And in the two years since its opening it has grown from cafe to late-night drinking bar, theatre and club. The clothing range is a logical extension.
Mouret's aim is not to create beautifully executed garments in luxurious fabrics at sky-high prices, but wearable, fun clothes. Expect uncompromisingly body-hugging faux leather with oddly positioned cut-outs and nylon printed with a lace pattern. Prices are around pounds 150 for a jacket. In fact, there isn't a designer behind the clothes. "It just happened," says Mouret, who despite his total unpretentiousness has been the art director at Robert Clergerie, Paris, a fashion model, and stylist, a pop video director and a shoe designer.
The clothes themselves are unusual in that they are 70 per cent unisex, with the remaining 30 per cent aimed directly at women, but they are not androgynous. "A woman can wear a pair of our nylon trousers and look like a woman, not like a woman trying to be a man, in the same way that jeans are a totally unisex thing," Mouret says. Indeed, he believes London street-style is the way to the future.
After spending some of his formative years in France looking at magazines such as i-D and The Face, he was attracted to London, and his belief in it is so strong that he will go as far as saying that without London there is no fashion.
"In the Seventies, haute couture was it, nobody suspected what pret a porter would become, and the new thing is streetwear. Streetwear is the pret a porter for the new millennium."
The collection is manufactured in Italy, with a little help from Franco Pene, another People Corporation visionary. He's the Italian director of Kashiyama, the company that manufactures for designers including Jean Paul Gaultier. Pene is also responsible for the fabrics used in the range, which are all Italian, and mostly synthetic.
"We know our customers because we are surrounded by them," says Mouret. "We just look around and see the people who utilise all this city has to offer: they are our inspiration." Ironically, however, the people who have inspired the collection are unable to buy the clothing here because there is no UK stockist.
Hopefully, after tonight's show this situation will be rectified. Meanwhile, the Japanese, Belgians and Italians have all been experiencing the People Corporation/London streetstyle thing before us.Reuse content