NEW YORK — To put things in the perspective of a five-year plan, Roland Mouret’s new store at 952 Madison Avenue — Mouret’s first in the U.S. and second overall — caps off a very productive half-decade for an independent designer. In 2010, Mouret, with the help of entertainment mogul and financier Simon Fuller, successfully bought back the rights to his name after a 2005 split from his original investors, Sharai and André Meyers, who owned 100 percent of his trademark. At the same time Mouret was getting back into business under his own name, he opened his first store in London in a six-story town house at 8 Carlos Place in Mayfair, the success of which is partially fueling his new retail venture.
The 1,400-square-foot space on upper Madison is Mouret’s bid to capitalize on his fastest-growing market. “I have an amazing chemistry with American women, and it was time for me to open in New York and really to start to develop my image in America,” said Mouret.
Designed with architectural firm Bozarthfornell, the New York store opens today. The interior features a marble floor, lacquered red benches and tables for accessories in the front and graphic steel fixtures, similar to the design in London, from which the collection hangs in the center of the store. Antique furniture from Jerome Dodd accents the fitting rooms and sitting area. The store houses all of the women’s collections — ready-to-wear, bridal and accessories.
Mouret decided on Madison, as opposed to SoHo or Fifth Avenue, because of its “village mentality.” Working closely with loyal, local clients has become a specialty, perfected through years of trunk shows with his wholesale partners, such as Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Jeffrey and Kirna Zabête. Although shoes, bags and sunglasses are part of his collection, Mouret is mainly known for his clothes, specifically his sophisticated figure-flattering dresses, such as the Galaxy (available exclusively in his own stores), which requires a different sales strategy than a luxury leather goods megastore, which have become commodity businesses to some degree. “When a customer comes in for an outfit, it’s such a different service you have to deliver,” said Mouret. “Because regardless of the size of your body, you can buy the same bag. An outfit is a different attitude. You have to consider the way they live, what they expect from it, what they want to control with the outfit. And the concept of aging, too, because you age with your customer. You have to learn how your customer was one day at 30 and she goes to her 40s and to her 50s. Oscar de la Renta understood that really well, and I think I’m in the vein of this type of designer, where I’m going to grow old with my customer and attract a new customer.”