Before the show, Stéphane Rolland was as keen to talk about his designs as he was about the continued bio-engineering projects he is involved in with Chinese architect and artist Song Dong, whose work had featured last season and through whom the designer accessed Chinese cultural sites usually inaccessible to visitors, including a private tour of the Forbidden City.
Describing the ensemble as “the spirit of a new Chinese Empress,” he sent out a lineup of impressions, rather than images, which he expressed through graphic motifs, shoulder lines and a palette of reds, saffron yellow, celadon blue, whites and black.
There was a saffron yellow chiffon halterneck gown with a cape; a crimson tabard cinched at the waist, reminiscent of a Chinese roof outline, and worn with fluid harem trousers; a celadon blue pleated caftan with a trompe-l’œil off the shoulder effect, shoulders dripping in crystals, and a pair of dresses that looked like their surface had cracked like pottery.
If the designer has often approached dresses as sculptures, they were this time more akin to calligraphy, their fluid volumes creating dramatic outlines when in motion. The collection was at its best when Rolland exercised his penchant for structure balanced with fluid materials.