ROLAND MOURET

LONDON — There’s nothing like a bit of rivalry to get a designer’s juices pumping — and Roland Mouret is no exception.

The French designer, who has been showing his collection at the Paris couture since 2007, is returning to the ready-to-wear calendar.

“Showing during couture was a great start, and I was able to express my point of view and vision. But my work is ready-to-wear, and I was feeling frustrated not showing alongside the competition. As a designer, you always need to be seeing what else is out there,” he said.

Mouret already pushed his production cycle forward to ensure that deliveries of his RM by Roland Mouret collection arrived in stores as early as possible. It made sense, he said at the time, to show in January and July.

His deliveries are still quite early compared with those of his competitors. The fall collection has already been sold, and will begin arriving on the shop floor three months after the Paris show. His spring 2010 collection will be in stores even earlier — two months after his show. “That is the meaning of luxury to me, being able to deliver the clothes to my customers as quickly as possible after the show,” he said.

Mouret, who has also done one-off projects with Net-a-porter.com, said he has some new Internet-related ideas on tap for the coming year. And he has been pushing into new markets in the Middle East and Europe as the recession begins to bite.

“We’ve been lucky so far with new independent stores and new markets. The debate today is not about offering expensive clothes or cheap ones,” he said. “It’s whether your clothes are relevant — or not.”

— Samantha Conti



JULIETTE HAS A GUN

PARIS —
When Romano Ricci created the fragrance brand Juliette Has a Gun three years ago, giving his scents a fashion incarnation was already percolating in the back of his mind.

As the great grandson of Nina Ricci, fashion runs in his blood. But it took an agreement of like minds — enter his sister Antina, who was working in the studio of Kenzo Takada — for Romano to realize the dream.

The siblings are launching their first Juliette Has a Gun ready-to-wear collection during the Paris shows. Romano, 30, and Antina, 29, will present about a dozen looks by appointment in a showroom at 16 Place Vendôme.

The designers explained the inspiration for the fashion came from Romano’s fragrances, which he creates with different kinds of women in mind, from the sensual to aggressive.

“I always saw the brand as a universe,” said Romano, who often wears a fedora. “I’ve always considered my Juliette as very chic.”

The duo worked with a men’s suit pattern cutter to get the tailored dresses just right. They gravitated to fabrics like satin and grain de poudre, and offset the monochromatic black and blue pieces with red or white piping.

“Everything is very structured,” Antina said. “When a girl puts on the dress, we want her to feel as if she were assuming a role that is both romantic and strong.”

The Riccis said they hoped to keep the brand niche and exclusive for the moment, much like Romano’s fragrances, which are carried in stores such as Holt Renfrew and Selfridges.

“It would be great to keep it to about 30 stores in the world,” said Romano. “After all, everything is handmade in Paris.”

— Robert Murphy

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