It's official. For Spring 2012, it's all about a dress. Roland Mouret is a master of the art form. Shoppers at his Carlos Place store in London have been known to buy four versions of the same frock, one for each of their residences. There were several in his show this morning that seem destined to enjoy that kind of popularity next Spring: the hourglass number that he opened with, creamy white on top, red on the bottom, and bisected by a black grosgrain ribbon; a slim black sheath appliquéd with red leather blossoms here and there; and a navy sundress with the surrealist eye cutout that was a recurring motif.
Backstage, Mouret explained he was thinking about Picasso, Matisse, and Cocteau's lovers and friends, women who might've been inspired by those artists' work to modify their own clothes. There was nothing amateurish about the way he pulled it off, though. The eyes gave his dresses a vintage-y, collector's-item quality. They weren't retro, which was a relief after seeing so many decade-specific shows in Europe. The designer also had this season's ubiquitous bra tops, but their stretchy techno fabric made the old-fashioned idea look modern. In a season of ladylike collections, they helped give Mouret's a welcome edge.