Roland Mouret: Back, hopefully in the black

Rm_net_a_porter

Roland Mouret, as part of his new partnership with Simon Fuller, is taking to the web to launch his new collection under the newly-founded RM label.  With high-profile behind-the-scenes coverage of the collection’s unveiling at Couture Week on Net-a-Porter, we may be seeing the first evidence of Mr. Fuller’s influence and experience in having marketed such pop phenoms as the Spice Girls. He may not have fashion experience, but Fuller is a man who knows how to work with creative talent and get front-page attention.

What’s more, this coverage is actually going to be linked to sales to end customers. In a first for the fashion industry, the small 21 piece collection for Spring Cruise 2008 will be available for pre-ordering on Net-a-Porter as of 5:30pm London time tomorrow. Natalie Massenet, the luxury e-tailer’s co-founder, declared the online RM initiative a 21st Century trunk show. It’s another coup for Net-a-Porter which has been continuously  innovating in the increasingly competitive online luxury retail fashion space.

The collection was shown only a few hours ago, but the early reviews are strong. Godfrey Deeny of FWD has declared it as "really rather fine", Lisa Armstrong of the Times uncharacteristically effused that it was "perfectly executed", and Hillary Alexander of the Daily Telegraph has called it "21 carefully-edited pieces in a chic, subdued  palette of black, grey, navy, cream and white." Still waiting to hear from heavyweights Cathy Horyn and Suzy Menkes, but I expect that they too will join the chorus of supporters for the popular designer who so many are happy to see back on the catwalk.

What an exciting development for Mouret, who famously lost the right to use his name after falling out with his previous financial backers. However, in an interesting (and questionable) piece of business synergy for Mr. Fuller, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham has apparently bought a large chunk of the new RM collection and will be wearing it during her interview with Jay Leno next week. (No doubt this is part of her conquering America tour.)

While celebrities are an unavoidable part of fashion marketing and PR in 2007, I wish Mr. Mouret had fought harder to get a brand ambassador with a better fit for his brand. His connection to Victoria Beckham is bound to raise some eyebrows and turn-off some people who, rightly or wrongly, wish she would just go away. I guess he owes her a favour since it was she who brokered the deal with Fuller that has put him firmly back on the fashion map.