Paris Fashion Week Diary: Backstage at Roland Mouret
Backstage with Roland Mouret and makeup artist Val Garland.
After three—yes, three—hours of “blissful” sleep, I made my way to the Westin Paris hotel, in front of the Tuileries, for my backstage interviews at
Roland Mouret. I thought I was just there to chat with tanning wizard Nichola Joss, but the PR gods were smiling and I soon found myself speaking with the entire creative team: Orlando Pita on hair, Val Garland on makeup—and, to my pleasant surprise, the designer himself. Here were the four steps leading up to showtime.
Step 1: Before Pita and Garland worked their magic, Joss was on her knees polishing the models into “honey glow” perfection using One Night Only St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. “It’s not about being too dark or having a deep one-dimensional tan; it’s about the overall finish and glow,” explained Joss, the brand’s global skin-care ambassador. “I want them to be radiant.” As for her own golden hue, Joss said it’s a mix of product and time spent this summer in Mauritius, a French island off the southeast coast of Africa. “I’m not an advocate of lying in the sun,” she added. “You need to protect your skin. I use product as well because I love a tanned look. I’m Scottish, so I come from a land where there isn’t much sun. Brooke Shields in
Blue Lagoon has always been my reference point.”
Step 2: Makeup artist Val Garland told me her task was to create "a royal rebel—a street girl who’s really cool.” The secret, she assured me, was the “scribbly eye” done with NARS Black Moon Eyeliner Pencil, Carpates Eyeliner Stylo and Zardoz Single Eyeshadow. “There’s no mascara—that’s what gives it a modern edge. The focus is on the black stain,” she explained. The lips were kept simple (Bianca Pure Sheer SPF Lip Treatment) and the skin bare except for Optimal Brightening Concentrate. But the secret weapon, according to Garland, was a product that won’t be on the market until early 2013: the Light Reflecting Setting Powder. “It feels like silk,” she explained. “You get that honed-to-the-bone finish.”
Click through for steps 3 and 4 and Noreen’s PFW by numbers…
Step 3: The mood on Roland Mouret’s runway was ’80s: Think model Leslie Winer + Princess Stephanie of Monaco, but hairstylist Orlando Pita was grappling with the look he envisioned versus the one he created: a pony, with slicked-back sides and a little volume on top. “It would be preferable if the girls had ’80s buzz cuts, but they don’t,” he said.
The Roland Mouret hair look from the front…
And from the side and the back…
Would any of them agree to be shaved? I asked. “No, girls are boring these days,” said Pita matter-of-factly. “That is why they have lost magazine covers—they don’t inspire real women the way celebrities do. When models were on the covers—like Linda, Christy, Naomi, Cindy Crawford or Claudia Schiffer—they all wanted to look different. One season they would cut off their hair! They spoke to real women. Nowadays, all the girls look the same. They all have boring long, straight hair. I try to get some of them to cut it, but it’s always the same answer. ‘I have to call my agent.’ Back then, nobody called their agent; the agent took care of office stuff—not what the model looked like. They also tell me that they’re ‘being held for a hair job,’ but I never see them in hair ads. It’s all a lie, but that’s why they’re losing more and more of the work. The runway is the only place they have left. I can’t imagine celebrities taking over the runway.”
Orlando Pita backstage at Roland Mouret.
Nor is Pita, but he’s still game to cut his own long locks. “I would shave my head in a second,” he laughed. “I normally have long hair, but five years ago I cut it off and donated it—and then I grew it out and donated it again. I started to grow it out in January 2010 and I’ve not cut it since. I like my hair long. I’ll keep it for a while.”
Step 4: The clothes! Mouret wanted to recapture the mood and optimism he felt in the ’80s but give it a 21st-century twist. Cue the bold padded shoulders, graphic black-and-white blocking and high-waist tapered pants. The opening look—the one he described as his favourite—was a bold orange/red tailored jacket with one of his signature curve-hugging pencil skirts with a thigh-high split. “That girl was killer for me,” he said. “I loved that first outfit.”
Dajana Antic sporting a look from Roland Mouret’s spring/summer 2013 collection. All runway images courtesy of ImaxTree.com.
The master of curve-enhancing dresses (a.k.a. Galaxy) also introduced more unexpected boxy, draped looks made from mud silk and mud cotton fabrics. (The material is soaked in mud and then set out to dry under the moonlight until it reaches the desired colour.) “I was so intrigued by this fabric. It’s so hard to control and to understand,” said Mouret. “It’s like meeting a new person in your life. It takes awhile to understand each other.” Speaking of understanding: Is there anything that he wished he knew in the ’80s but now knows for certain? “Not really,” he smiled. “It’s nice not to know everything. That said, I did become a control freak. If I had known that was going to happen, I would have tried to manoeuvre my way out of that!”
Bonus: I had an H&M party flashback when the soundtrack kicked in to the sounds of Azealia Banks and Montell Jordan rapping to “Get It on Tonight.” “I’m especially proud of the soundtrack,” said Mouret. “It’s the perfect anthem to kick-start my ’80s fashion party.”
Paris Fashion Week by numbers:
3: Hours of sleep
2: Beagles (my favourite
1: Model with a broken heel on the Dior runway.
3: Near-miss encounters with speeding motorcyclists taxiing models to their next assignments.
0: Times mistaken for Anna Wintour. (We both have bobs.)
Read more of our Paris Fashion Week spring/summer 2013 coverage!