“The one photographer whose work most embodies love, in all its forms, is Norman Parkinson.”
On the week of Valentine’s day, we are celebrating the iconic photographer, Norman Parkinson, whose work had a long-standing influence on Mouret and whose jovial photography made him a favourite of the fashion industry globally.
Parkinson was central to moving fashion photography from stifled studio settings to the outdoors. He encouraged models to bring their own personalities to the images through movement, rather than simply standing frozen in a prim and demure pose. His images often encompassed love, humour and a joyful attitude. In short, he injected life and vitality into fashion photography, making the woman the focus of the image.
As Grace Coddington said, ‘The model isn’t necessarily rolling around with laughter, but there is always a lot of joy, and that’s down to the fact he was a funny man, charming, and he made them feel comfortable.’
Back in 2013, Roland Mouret curated an exhibition of Norman Parkinson’s work as part of the Bath in Fashion festival. At the time, Mouret mused that prior to Parkinson ‘Men were directing the “voice” of women through fashion. The way Norman photographed women…is amazing; the equality between him and his model is always there.’
This translates directly into Mouret’s design ethos, creating clothes which embrace and celebrate the female form, which become like a second skin to empower the wearer. ‘I love how clothes fall over the body. I’m known for drape and structure, but I succeed, I think, when the clothes feel comfortable to you… Before the outfit, there is the woman.’