Mouret eyes world domination with some Sixties sophistication

By Susannah Frankel,Fashion Editor
Tuesday 18 February 2003 01:00

If the opening weekend of London Fashion Week was characterised by the work of bright but quirky young things whose aim had never really been high-profile global domination, the stakes were raised yesterday when Roland Mouret, one of London's most fêted names, unveiled his autumn/ winter collection.

"La nuit, tous les chats sont gris" was its name and even the title pointed to glamorous things to come. This is only to be expected from a man who designs some of the most sexy, draped and wrapped dresses in the business. Mouret comes up with clothes that a sophisticated, fashion-aware woman who would rather not parade the more obvious status labels would kill for. It Girls with attitude won't be disappointed by Sixties-line dresses and skirt suits trimmed with black patent leather and finished to the highest standard. Fine-gauge knitted mini-dresses in black, tomato and cornflower with ultra-long sleeves and worn over skin-tight, black bodies were equally sexy.

Inspiration came from Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne, most obviously in the form of gleaming body armour, from which tiny pleated skins were suspended. For evening, the lightest silk dresses were finished with collars of dull gold and muted silver sequins.

Mouret, southern French and the son of a butcher, worked in Paris in the Eighties as a model, stylist and art director. In London in 1994, he set up the first of the ultra-chic Freedom bar hang-outs. He was approached by the Italian clothing manufacturer Gibo to design a range called People Corporation, reflecting the lifestyle of the men and women frequenting Freedom.

Mouret closed People Corporation in the late Nineties. A year ago he secured new backing and became an internationally recognised name.

And the husband-and-wife team Clements Ribeiro are back. Their style – proud to be bourgeois with a cool off-kilter twist – was lost in Paris, where they have shown for three seasons, but they shine in the less competitive British climate. And so they should. The Clements Ribeiro look is highly refined, if discreetly so, and executed to a standard not often witnessed in a mostly young and inexperienced arena.

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