It was beautifully cut in wool crepe. Every dart was carefully placed. The square neckline revealed the perfect amount, making it the dress that every woman wanted.

The Roland Mouret Galaxy debuted in 2005. It was a celebration of femininity, highlighting curves that other designers had ignored.

As the suave French-born Mouret, who lives in Suffolk and works in London, said: ‘When I design a dress for a woman, I also think of the man who is going to take it off her.’

Carol Vorderman said of the iconic dress: 'The Galaxy saw my curves and instead of having to hide them, this dress made me feel beautiful. It still hangs in my wardrobe'

Carol Vorderman described the iconic dress as: “The Galaxy saw me curves and instead hid them, this gown made me feel beautiful.” It still hangs in mine.

Roland Mouret pictured with Dita Von Teese, wearing the Galaxy dress which he designed, at an awards show in 2006

Roland Mouret and Dita Von Teese pictured wearing the Galaxy dress he designed at an awards show in 2006.

The sleek sheath was seen on everyone, from Halle Berry to Cameron Diaz to Rachel Weisz to Sienna Miller, and seemed to exude poise and confidence.

Its seductive shape is due to the thick, elasticised mesh underneath, made from Powerflex material. This material was originally used in corsets in 1950s.

It pulled at the waist, pushed up and raised the bottom.

Another aspect of its genius was its famous origami draped shoulders. This made it instantly iconic.

It was also — most unusually for high-end designer fashion — available in sizes up to a 20.

Initially retailing at £990, it sold out at Harvey Nichols within a few days, and for months there was a waiting list.

Vogue wrote: ‘For weeks you couldn’t open a newspaper or a magazine without seeing another young Hollywood A-lister wearing it.’

Scarlett Johansson, Nicole Kidman and Jodie Foster all had one. Victoria Beckham apparently had one in every colour, and wore the Galaxy’s successor, the Moon, in hot pink to husband David’s debut at LA Galaxy in 2007.

Ms Von Teese wearing the iconic curve-hugging dress design at the Cartier Queen's Cup Polo Day in 2012

Ms Von Teese wearing the iconic curve-hugging dress design at the Cartier Queen’s Cup Polo Day in 2012

The dress, as pictured on actress Rachel Weisz, bestows poise and confidence with its classic silhouette

As seen on Rachel Weisz, the dress exudes poise and confidence thanks to its classic silhouette. 

Mouret hosted a Selfridges event in 2006, and was delighted to see that around 60 women showed up at the Galaxy.

He said: ‘Each of them was complimenting each other. Tell me, when do women ever want to wear the same dress?’

It spawned thousands of imitations — at one point Topshop was selling 5,000 Galaxy-style frocks a week for £65.

The original dress is still available today, for £1,595 via the Mouret website and shop in Mayfair. This season’s colours include blood orange and baby pink.

However, if you’ve always wanted a Galaxy, the time to buy is now —the business has filed notice of its intent to appoint administrators.

The pandemic’s financial consequences proved so devastating that even customers like the Duchesses and Sussex were unable to save Mouret. The creator of the Galaxy has returned to Earth.

His reversal of fortune demonstrates how devastating Covid’s impact on the industry, despite his creations being adored by A-listers and just within reach of ordinary women.

Several cancelled seasons, no social events, no international travel plus the end of duty-free shopping this spring — which, without the discounts available to tourists, delivered a hammer blow to London’s status as a fashion retail capital — compounded the pain.

Mouret (60 years old) stated earlier this year in an interview that sales had fallen by 80 percent. ‘We lost 20 years in one day,’ he added.

But he was determined to survive, and only two months ago promised he would be ‘the last man standing’ in British fashion, following the demise of such labels as Alice Temperley, Amanda Wakeley and Ralph & Russo.

He launched his own activewear line just three weeks ago.

The Roland Mouret label is jointly owned by the designer and entertainment mogul Simon Fuller — for many years a major stakeholder in David Beckham’s brand business and still a stakeholder of Victoria’s struggling fashion label.

It was reported last month by the Associated Press that Mouret investors including its London landlord Grosvenor Estates were discussing financing options to keep them solvent.

Halle Berry wearing the flattering design in 2012. The secret to its seductive shape lay in the thick, elasticised mesh underlay, made from a material called Powerflex that was used in corsets in the 1950s

Halle Berry wearing the flattering design as a 2012 model in 2012. Its seductive shape is due to the thick, elasticised mesh underneath, made from Powerflex material that was used in corsets in 1950s. 

In 2019 — the last year for which accounts are available, the label reported a very slender pre-tax profit of £242,667 on sales of £16.1 million. The company currently has 84 employees.

Former model, Mouret now lives in a Suffolk thatched cottage with his husband James Webster, a sculptor.

The designer is well-known for his charming nature. Among his friends is Meghan Markle, who wore one of his designs on the day before her wedding and chose Mouret dresses multiple times throughout her time as a working princess.

Edward Enninful, editor of British Vogue, is also a friend.

Yet Mouret’s story is one of the most astonishing in fashion. He is almost untrained having only completed three months of a fashion degree and only starting his own business at 36.

Mouret was born in a small French village near Lourdes. He is the son of a butcher and a chambermaid.

He watched his father at work, cutting meat, and said it had inspired his love of fashion: ‘It made me love the muscle, the bone and the fat.’

In 1979, he moved from Paris to study at a Parisian college of fashion. He spent three months there. He was then a model and later a stylist before becoming the creative director of Gai Pied Hebdo.

He eventually moved to London where he owned a bar. He was still fascinated by fashion. He believed he could create ‘irresistible’ clothing. ‘I love the way fabric feels . . . I love how clothes fall over the body,’ he enthused.

He was 36 when he decided to follow his dreams. ‘I thought if I didn’t do it, I was going to be really bitter,’ he told the Financial Times.

Jean Paul Gaultier rejected his application for a job. ‘I was told: “You’re not good enough for us.” From that day I refused to be employed by anyone — I didn’t want to be rejected again.’

With a loan of £2,000 he created a debut collection in 1997. He simply wrapped the fabric around the models using a home sewing machine.

He recalled: ‘I couldn’t do blouses; Italy did it cheaper. But if your arms were extended [the design] a few inches, you’d have a dress, and I could make money on dresses.’

He became a part of the ‘demi-couture’ movement, along with such designers as Alexander McQueen and Julien Macdonald — shaking up the fashion world with an outsider’s sensibility.

Mouret told Forbes magazine: ‘It was brilliant to be part of something that didn’t exist before.

‘However, at that point, I had to face the reality that I was near bankruptcy, but I couldn’t stop: I was hooked.’

Victoria Beckham wearing the Galaxy in 2005, the year in which it made its debut. It was a hymn to femininity, celebrating curves where other designers had ignored them

The Galaxy was first worn by Victoria Beckham in 2005, the same year it was launched. It was a celebration of femininity, celebrating curves that other designers had ignored.

In 1998, he took an investment from Sharai Meyers (a Scottish businesswoman) and her banker husband Andre and began to reach major retailers.

He had already earned a reputation for making beautiful, wearable clothes by the time the Galaxy was released.

Linda Fargo, fashion director of New York department store Bergdorf Goodman, said: ‘Women love to wear Roland because it has a unique way of being both sexy and sophisticated at the same time.’

In 2006, with the Galaxy still a sensation, came a defining crisis: he quit his own label over ‘creative differences’ with the Meyers.

For his comeback, he turned to showbiz with Simon Fuller (ex-Spice Girls manager), investing in his RM By Roland Mouret line which launched in 2007.

At last! Finally! 

Carol Vorderman

Ask me to which event I wore my first Roland Mouret Galaxy dress and my mind’s a blank. But the way I felt in it — glamorous, confident and proud of my curves for the first time — is something I’ll never forget.

It was 2005. At that time, if one wanted to look good in a gown, they had to be super slim. I’m built with a big bottom and boobs and a tiny waist, meaning most dresses back then flapped around my waist but were too tight across my bum.

Roland Mouret’s now legendary dresses were different.

It was a different feeling to step into my first blue Galaxy.

The high-quality woollen material had stretch in it; it did things fabric hadn’t done before.

It hugged my stomach, went under my waist, and then back up over my bust.

TA DAHHHHHH! Thank you, Roland Mouret, for your kind words!

The Galaxy saw my curves, and instead of hiding them, made me feel beautiful in this dress.

It hangs in my closet, along with a dozen variations of the design. I can’t imagine a day when I’ll stop wearing them.

The Galaxy truly was the game-changing dress that championed real women’s bodies.

Roland launched the idea and it has grown into a movement that allows women to be themselves, no matter what size or shape they are.

No one can take the brand away, no matter what happens.

Fuller put in 50 per cent of the money, Mouret the other 50 per cent — with the designer retaining full creative control.

The first show featured ‘easy chic’ dresses which were — in a great innovation — available to order the following day. ‘Why should they have to wait?’ said Mouret.

At this point, Fuller was nurturing Victoria Beckham’s fashion ambitions, too — with his backing, she launched her own label in 2008.

Her first collection was a surprise to all, featuring beautifully tailored dresses, many of them similar to Mouret’s famous sleek silhouettes. Mouret claimed he was only a mentor to her.

Miranda Kerr in 2011, wearing the Galaxy dress. Another part of its genius was the famous origami draped shoulders, which made it instantly iconic

Miranda Kerr wearing the Galaxy gown in 2011. Its genius was also evident in its origami draped shoulders. This made it instantly iconic.

His own business was very successful. The Galaxy was followed closely by the Moon and Titanium. The Duchess has worn more recent dresses featuring the signature draping.

In 2010, he bought back the rights to his own name and opened a standalone store opposite London’s Connaught Hotel a year later.

Many other designers branch out into cosmetics and handbags, but Mouret stuck to dresses and separates — and made money on repeat sales to loyal customers.

‘As a designer, you have to understand why that woman is going to come to you. I know where I fit; I know my space,’ he said.

Women — from Beyonce to Theresa May — felt powerful in his dresses. There was never an ideal dress.

As he said: ‘You either do clothes for the fashion world or you do clothes for people who don’t live like in the pictures.

‘I am not a fattist — I accept all bodies. I cut my dresses and make sure they fit on all sizes. The real success is not the dress — it’s the sizing and its consistency.’

He added: ‘I love to make nice a**es. I must be honest. It is the most important part of the body. My way of knowing if I did something good is if the customer has a nice a**.’

He’s not been afraid of the mass market, either, and has had collaborations with Banana Republic and even a dress for Gap.

The pandemic decimated him. He cancelled his autumn/winter 2020 fashion show. In order to cut costs, he restructured the Manhattan store and made a shift to ecommerce.

In June, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland announced it had taken a minority stake to help ‘grow and diversify the business’.

The funds were used to launch Mouret’s sportswear line last month.

He said just weeks ago that he feared that it would take five more years to recover fully from the pandemic. Unfortunately, his time seems to have ended sooner.

Celebrity clients will no doubt be hoping, with his history of bouncing back, Mouret’s iconic designs won’t be consigned to a galaxy far far away for too long.