LONDON — Roland Mouret has parted ways with his backers, Sharai and Andre Meyers.
Roland Mouret Design Ltd. said in a statement Tuesday that Mouret, who is head designer, resigned his position due to differences of opinion.
"It's been an incredible five years, and unfortunately, things don't always work out the way you want them to," said Sharai Meyers in a telephone interview. "It's a regrettable thing, and it's certainly not the first time it's happened in this business, but I'm sure Roland will go on to do amazing work."
Meyers, whose title is creative director, said the rift came from differences in strategic direction. "It got to a stage where there was less common ground than there needed to be," she said.
The Meyers hold 100 percent of the company's equity, and Andre's title is chairman. The plan is for Mouret to receive a package of share options once the company breaks a profit, which is expected in the fiscal year ending in April.
Sales for the fiscal year are expected to be 2.8 million pounds, or $5.04 million. Meyers added that sales for the spring 2006 season alone were in excess of 1 million pounds, or $1.8 million, a record for the company.
She said the Roland Mouret trademark remains the property of the company. "It's still undecided where we'll go with that," Meyers said. Mouret and the Meyers set up the company in February 2000, two years after the designer made his debut at London Fashion Week.
Mouret declined to comment on Tuesday.
The statement said Mouret would continue to work as head designer for the next six months, and will be involved in the design of the fall 2006 collection. The 2006 resort collection is currently shipping, three weeks ahead of schedule, and spring 2006 production is "well under way," the statement said. All orders placed for spring will be delivered as planned in January.
Meyers plans to continue trading with the current infrastructure, although no decisions have been made about the company's future name. No decisions have been made regarding a replacement for Mouret, either. "There is a strong, talented bunch of people who are already here — and they are the way forward. Roland was a big part of the team, but he was only a part of the team," she said.Meyers added the company would continue to produce Mouret's two jewelry lines, as well as the clothing collections. The jewelry lines will be updated, and a resort collection, to be shown in June 2006, will be designed by the new team. She said more concrete announcements about the future of the company would be made beginning in January.
Over the past five years, Roland Mouret has gone from strength to strength. The designer started showing in New York in 2003, and since then has boosted his U.S. sales to 38 percent of the company's global turnover. The U.S. is his fastest-growing market. Stores that carry the collection include Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Jeffrey, Louis Boston, Maxfield and Ultimo. The U.K. generates 32 percent of sales, followed by Europe with 20 percent and Australasia with 10 percent.
"I'm in shock," said Tracey Ross, who received a courtesy call from a company representative while traveling in Bologna, Italy, Wednesday. Company representatives were personally reaching out to buyers and editors Tuesday to inform them of Mouret's departure. Ross was the first to carry Mouret in Los Angeles, and feted him during Oscar week last October with a dinner.
"Why would I carry the line without Roland?" said Ross, quickly adding she was still interested in seeing what the house's next step would be. "How do you go on without the designer? It's too young a house not to have the namesake."
Last year, Mouret unveiled his first cruise collection and launched a second jewelry line, Roland Mouret, featuring chunky oversized pearls, multistrand bracelets and antique gold baubles. The first line, which features diamonds, is called RM Rough.
The 44-year-old Mouret, whose family hails from the Camargue region of France, moved to London in the early Eighties after working in various parts of the fashion industry. He started as a model, worked as a stylist for French Glamour and an art director for Robert Clergerie, before turning his hand to clothing design. He first became known in London as the designer of the People's Revolution collection of casualwear.
He then started a collection under his own name, which was mainly for private clients and shown out of an apartment in east London. The collection, based on expensive fabrics and wrapping cloth around the body that was held together with pins and studs, was an immediate hit. Mouret expanded into ready-to-wear a few seasons later, showing his first collection at London Fashion Week in February 1998. In subsequent seasons he expanded into more tailored designs, as well as resort.
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