Please forgive me if you see traces of drool on this webpage, but I just cannot get over how absolutely beautiful the Autumn Winter 2012 collection from Roland Mouret is. So, I give warning in advance, this is going to be a glowing, raving review of the collection’s show on Sunday, May 20, as the closing event of Audi Fashion Festival 2012 (AFF2012).

Inspired by the “big freeze” of the winter of 1947, a time just after World War II that was full of contradictions – the creation of Dior’s luxurious “New Look” juxtaposed with the continuing hardship of those trying to recover from the war – Mouret wanted to show a sense of luxury but at the same time some respect for the less fortunate he said during an interview held in Singapore just prior to his AFF2012 show.

AFF2012 Roland Mouret Autumn Winter 2012 BLACK
Elegant cuts and layers from Roland Mouret Autumn Winter 2012 on the Audi Fashion Festival 2012 runway. Images: Wesley Kow

This contradiction showed in the simple lines and layering of the collection, as well as in the restrained use of prints and some very light, muted pastel colours mixed with navy, black and lashings of grey.

One very clever innovation that clearly showed the mix of luxe and restraint was the creation of a skirt shape that showed width, a luxury of fabric, from the front but revealed a much tighter pencil skirt shape at the rear. This was most clearly seen in the final dress – worn by arguably Singapore’s top model Sheila Sim (pictured above, far right).

Amazingly prim with a high neck, neat waist and wide skirt from the front view, the unrelieved black wool revealed a fabulous full-length zip, tight pencil skirt and lower neckline from the back; it is the perfect combination of prim and sexy and unutterably elegant.

Elegance is the perfect word to describe the entire collection; from the classic hourglass shapes of the fitted dresses, echoing Mouret’s iconic Galaxy dress, to the structural-yet-soft lines of the belted waistcoats, jackets and cropped furs, this is a collection that truly celebrates women.

AFF2012 Roland Mouret Autumn Winter 2012 LIGHT
AFF2012 Roland Mouret Autumn Winter 2012 PASTELS
Light shades & muted pastels from Roland Mouret Autumn Winter 2012 collection.
Images: Wesley Kow

Using soft greys, white, soft mauve, lemon and a touch of icy blue added to the feminine feel of the range, but it was the mix of strict lines and brilliant details like three-dimensional pockets and three-piece pleats on the back of garments that elevated this collection from pretty to perfect.

Yes, the influence of the 1940s was clear in the knee-length skirts, the army jacket patch pockets and the thicker-heeled shoes, but these references were only starting points to the finished collection.

This collection “referred” to the period, it was not derivative. If anything it reminded me of the 1940s-Sci Fi mash-up of the costumes designed by award-winning designer Michael Kaplan for the movie Blade Runner.

It’s Mouret’s mastery of cut that pushes the collection away from obvious and into the realm of fantastic; as always the clothes are designed to be worn by real women, not just models. Mouret also said in his Singapore interview that showing his clothes on young models who “aren’t yet fully grown” doesn’t always do them justice.

The placement of front pockets, apron-style on the long-fronted waistcoats, emphasised the “right” place of a woman’s hips; the intricate pleats on the rear necklines and waists of dresses and coats pulled in and tamed a woman’s overall shape.

For me, and this is based purely on my own personal taste, Mouret created the perfect collection. It is feminine, in that wearing it will make me look good, it would emphasise all my “good bits” and downplay my “bad bits”, but it is not frilly; it’s not an exaggerated version of femininity.

AFF2012 Roland Mouret Autumn Winter 2012 PRINTS
Subtle prints and linear shapes from Roland Mouret Autumn Winter 2012 collection.
Images: Wesley Kow

The linear structure at the shoulders, the neat waists, the subdued but luxurious fabrics and the volume that comes from Mouret’s perfection of cut that doesn’t add bulk would make these garments absolutely practical as well. And while I’m an avowed avoider of any colour that isn’t black, white or grey – yes I know they aren’t technically colours – I would even go so far as to wear one of the mauve outfits; I love the collection that much.

Oh, and I really have to say something about the shoes. The Autumn Winter 2012 collection saw the first outing of Mouret’s own shoe line; he’s also the creative director for cult French shoe label Robert Clergerie.

And they were absolutely to-die-for. I will be cheerfully going into debt the moment they’re released for sale online in July.

Created with a signature “R” motif that runs around the heel and creates the distinctive stacked heel shape, the super-soft suede and nappa leather is dyed in fabulous plum, pistachio green, grey and black. There are sexy t-bar pumps, knee-high and thigh-high boots and the perfect bootie, all available with a stacked heel, a hidden platform and a slightly upturned, rounded-point toe.

Perfect, sexy, elegant and entirely wearable, that’s my perception of the Roland Mouret Autumn Winter 2012 collection. Now, if only he had a store in Singapore.

The Roland Mouret Autumn Winter 2012 show was the closing event of Audi Fashion Festival 2012. To shop Roland Mouret, go to Net-A-Porter or the label’s own website’s Shop Section where a selection of pieces are available. For more information on Roland Mouret, go to: www.rolandmouret.com.