LONDON — Roland Mouret is vaulting into activewear with a bold, color-blocked collection made for women who want to sweat — or at least look like they do.
The designer said that during the pandemic everything changed: women started working out more to keep themselves mentally and physically strong, and now, he’s ready to dress them.
For the first time he’s working with technical fabrics for a collection that’s meant to perform in the boxing ring, on the yoga mat or the running track. The designer has also made sure that Roland Mouret Body chimes with his seasonal collections.
For example, the colors are similar to his spring 2022 runway offer — with lots of zesty, citrusy brights — while the pieces are meant to be layered with his ready-to-wear collection.
Prices range from 75 pounds for tank tops, to 125 pounds for sports bras and 395 pounds for outerwear.
“It’s my twist on that fine line between sports and ready-to-wear,” said Mouret in an interview. “And it’s still draped, of course. I drape everything! I always design in 360 degrees. It’s all the same family of clothes.”
There’s a signature Mouret dart on the back of the leggings that’s meant to enhance the shape of a woman’s bottom, while tops are roomy and draped, allowing for movement.
Mouret’s colorblocking is out in force: a white bra top comes with graphic black bands at the back, while a short, technical jacket has a storm shield folded into a delicate, origami-like shape.
Mouret said his mantra for the collection was “suspension and tension.” Similar to the rtw, there isn’t too much pattern or detail, and the focus is on sculptural shape — and drape.
With the exception of Stella McCartney, Europe’s luxury designers haven’t ventured too far into the athletic performance sphere. Mouret said it hasn’t been easy: He’s been working with fabrics that have a four-way stretch, and now has to think of practical details, such as pockets for his upcoming tennis dress designs.
He’s bucking some of the rules and has designed white leggings — a brave move if there ever was one. “It was a massive challenge to make all of these leggings opaque and durable — but I wanted to take it on.”
So focused was Mouret on creating a high-performance collection that he hired Sarah Smith, a model, professional ballroom and Latin dancer, yoga teacher and stunt woman, who appeared in the 2017 “Wonder Woman” film.
He’s clearly been thinking about wonder women: for spring 2022, instead of a runway show he screened a short film called “Terma,” a retelling of Odysseus’ tale from a female point of view.
The film unfurls on a Greek island, and features a clutch of Mouret-clad young women rescuing an Odysseus-style character from the sea, entertaining him lavishly, and then slapping around the local thugs who try to hurt him.
While Mouret may have been inspired by on-screen characters, he — and his company’s new president Justine Rouch — said this collection is about satisfying the daily needs of his regular customers.
“We wanted to create something that made customers look as good in workout clothes as they do in Roland’s dresses. We wanted beautiful designs, but also clothes that could perform,” said Rouch, who joined the company in 2019.
Mouret added: “We have to be realistic about the women in our lives, and the way they spend money today. The collection also allows us to explore other avenues, and offers a new entry price point,” he said.
The collection will evolve each season, with Mouret planning to add tennis, swim and other sports in the coming months. Rouch said there are high hopes for the new collection, which she believes could eventually be as big as Mouret’s main line.
According to Companies House, the official register of U.K. businesses, sales at Roland Mouret were 16 million pounds in fiscal 2019. During the pandemic the brand got a boost from its Mayfair landlord, the property owner Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, which took a minority stake.
The investment in Mouret’s business marked the first time that Grosvenor, one of the largest property owners in Britain and Ireland with investments in more than 60 cities worldwide, made an equity investment in a tenant.