Cottagecore and Crafty Summer Dressing: In Conversation with Fashion Designer Roland Mouret

Cottagecore and Crafty Summer Dressing: In Conversation with Fashion Designer Roland Mouret

– the Internet aesthetic that celebrates a return to
traditional skills and crafts – is right up fashion designer Roland
Mouret’s country lane. Not in a chintzy, prairie-dress way; rather
it’s the Suffolk-based designer’s sensibility that has us drawing a
comparative line. Famous for the now-iconic Galaxy dress, a
glamorous and figure-enhancing design known to many as simply “that
dress”, today Mouret’s collections place a strengthened emphasis on
easy elegance and simplicity, while continuing to focus on fabric
and form.

Born in Lourdes, France, Roland spent his early years in

, before establishing his eponymous label in London
and later making the move to East Anglia. In rediscovering the
verdant countryside, vintage markets and all, it seems the king of
structure and draping has gone un peux casual of late. Inspired by
an influx in people’s interest in crafting over the past months (a
side-effect of COVID-19 quarantining and one-too-many sourdough
mishaps), Mouret sought to enable clients and coveters of the brand
to “wear something new without buying anything” new. An admirable
aim, in placing a love of clothing and creative reimaging ahead of
sales, Mouret, like others in the industry, is reassessing what
fashion is at its core, what dressing might look like in the months
ahead and examining ways to produce new designs in the most
sustainable manner possible.

Using one of eight online tutorials available to download via
Instagram DM, we tried our hand at assembling a bag inspired by the
indigo-blue hued Nimes, styled from denim offcuts and called on
Mouret for further guidance, fashion insights and a list of
must-sees and -dos for our next Framlingham frolic…

Where are you from and how has your background shaped you?

I’m originally from Lourdes in France. I am the son of a
butcher, which definitely impacted who I am and shaped my career.
Watching my father in the shop, folding his apron to hide stains
and only show the clean linen, are some of my earliest memories of
working with fabric.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

I like to create pieces which bring real dressing solutions to
women’s lives with easily wearable and modern silhouettes that will
never go out of style. I’m known for drape and structure, but I
succeed, I think, when the clothes feel comfortable to you, the

Where is your studio and what does it look like?

I have a small, simple studio at my cottage in Suffolk. In more
normal times, I take fabric back with me on a Friday and spend the
weekend draping, before returning to London in the week.

Tell us about your latest series of tutorials and how we can
access them…

I wanted to show people how to make clothes for themselves using
materials like scarves or jewellery, things that are all around us
or which can be found at a vintage market, rather than needing to
purchase anything new this summer. There will be eight tutorials in
all to make simple scarf tops, sarong skirts and fabrics bags which
can be requested via direct message on Instagram.

What was the catalyst for creating this online DIY series?

I think quarantine allowed us to think about creativity without
producing anything new and I was inspired to see so many people
take up new crafts over this time. I’ve also always been influenced
by the Mediterranean woman’s style, how they use what’s around,
like a silk scarf and a necklace, to create an outfit for a drink
on the terrazzo. There is magic in that simple attitude.

Each of the pieces profiled takes inspiration from your
favourite summer destinations. Tell us more…

Each of the eight designs was inspired by the attitude and
colours of some of my favourite places in the
South of France
. I think these places really epitomise that relaxed
Mediterranean elegance. The Espiguette top is inspired by the beach
in the
South of France
. It is a simple halter-neck scarf top, which
was one of the first things my grandmother taught me to make. The
Kefi top (after Kefalonia) is inspired by the bright blues of

where I’ve spent many great summers with my dear friend
Sophia Neophitou. The Nimes bag I made from a denim offcut I had at
home. That dark indigo blue always reminds me of Nimes and the
South of France, where I believe denim actually first originated
and you still see that colour everywhere today. I always find
inspiration in the colours, textures and nature when I travel.

How do you think people’s approach to summer dressing – and
dressing in general – has changed?

I think, over time, people have realised that holidays are much
more about creating memories and there is less of a focus on buying
new pieces for summer dressing. There is such an easy elegance
which comes from restyling or reusing what you have around you in a
new way.

The most impressive place you’ve ever travelled to in the name
of fashion is…

Last year I visited China. I visited the Taijiang region during
the Sisters’ Festival, an ancient festival similar to Valentine’s
Day. There were incredible processions with thousands of locals
dressed in traditional clothing, music and performances. Part of my
love for travelling comes from learning more about traditional
cultures and customs.

Some of your favourite places to escape to include…

I’ve really been enjoying the UK during quarantine; my favourite
places are the
beaches and any beautiful countryside garden to

What makes a good hotel?

A very simple request, but it must have windows you can actually
open, unlike a lot of new hotels.

You have a Jack Russell terrier, Dave. What pet-friendly hotels
can you recommend?

In Bordeaux, La Course guest house is where I have spent
many great holidays.

Where do you consider your home away from home?

My home in Suffolk is a great escape from the city.

What are you reading at the moment?

One of my favourite books recently has been Wilful Disregard by
Lena Andersson, but right now I’m more into audiobooks. I’m
currently enjoying listening to Stephen Fry’s Mythos.

What’s your take on souvenirs?

I’d always prefer to go to an antiques shop; it’s the most
sustainable way to collect souvenirs and find unique pieces.

And finally, what’s in your SUITCASE?

The bare minimum. The basics I travel with all the time are some
Greek linen shirts, two pairs of shorts, my iPad, a towel and sun

Roland Mouret’s Pocket Guide to Suffolk


I’d personally pick a cottage or a countryside Airbnb for the
best rural experience.


Watson and Walpole
in Framlingham, my neighbourhood


The Station Hotel in Framlingham.


Visit the antiques shops and markets; my favourite is Dix-Sept Antiques in Framlingham.

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