How important are first impressions?
Red-carpet designer favourite Roland Mouret was in Singapore for the first time, here to present his A/W 2012 collection at the Audi Fashion Festival 2012. He easily admitted to being dismayed with the Singaporean’s dress sense.
“It shocked me a bit,” he said, based on what he’d seen in his brief stay at the five-star hotel in Orchard where he was billeted. “I see quite a lot of fashion disasters in this hotel, especially on men – the wrong shorts with the flip-flops… That’s why you have to learn balance, to know what’s for what moment.”
During a meeting with the media before his show rehearsals, the London-based, French designer shared even more honest and personal observations of his visit.
What do you make of Singaporeans’ dress sense?
It shocked me a bit. It would be nicer if it was just a bit more controlled. (Smiles)
I think the government should put [up] a new law. (The reporters laugh) I think hotels should have a rule on how you should dress in the hotel. You’re not allowed to come in from the beach with your swimwear; you have to put on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, or you would be fined. Maybe it’s a bit [silly] but every place should make a rule on how you want people to dress.
What are your other impressions of Singapore?
I realize that there’s a lot of shopping and fashion; it’s a place perfect for that. You have an amazing balance between architecture and greenery too. It’s one of the more beautiful cities [I’ve seen]. I’ve been traveling and I really love it, but the flip-flops and the cargo pants, the ‘90s raving pants, the big, heavy pockets… no. It’s one outfit that you use normally to go to the swimming pool or to the beach. But from morning to evening, they’re still wearing [it]. It’s just a no.
I think this trip is really going to have an impact on my next collection, [but] I don’t know which one yet. I’m at the moment designing my next Spring/Summer [collection].
How important is the Asian market when you’re designing?
You have that level of humidity here [that] we don’t experience in Europe. But it’s very important for us to understand the lightness of the fabric, to understand that it’s really important that it’s breathable. That’s why we have less and less defined seasons in our collections now. We would be stupid not to understand it.
How did you adjust your designs because of the climate?
You go to the rest of the world… it’s the same thing in America. [The customers] ask all the time for really light-fabric clothes, because Miami, LA, New York and in Europe too, it’s really hot. There’s something about the climate that you have to take the world as one.
And the customer can travel; you have to be able to meet them in their place to understand their lifestyle. You travel and you start to understand your customers’ needs. The first time I went to Asia – Hong Kong, then to China – I was told to do pink and red. You take it for what it is, but there is a truth behind it. There is a kind of association and emotion for Asian customers to have some pink and red. That’s how you keep information. And when you work, your creativity controls everything; but you remember these little things and you start to really balance your creation. After you add these little suggestions, your collection starts to take [on] a different character.
What do you think of Singapore designers?
I have to be honest; when I came here I didn’t know the names of young designers. But I was told by a lady that there’s a certain snobbery with customers to buy local designers and she wanted to fight that.
How can you fight it?
It [has] happened everywhere in the world, in Europe, in England, where local and international designers [compete]. It’s the same thing. But there is a moment to make it happen – [when] local designers will become national designers, and some of them will fight to become international designers. You just have to give time to the situation and the equation. But they will win if they’re creative; it’s not impossible.
Take American designers like Phillip Lim and Alexander Wang, who have strong connections with China and they produce in China. Their products are sold around the world. There is no problem, people love it. Why would there be a stigma against young Asian designers in Asia not being able to do the same thing as the Asian designer living in New York?
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Singapore fashion shocked me: Roland MouretBy Ang Kaifong | Fashion Season News – Wed, May 23, 2012 10:27 PM SGT
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How important are first impressions?
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