“There are no free spirits anymore,” lamented Stéphane Rolland who dedicated his collection to the Twenties, as a post-war period of intense artistic expression. The venue: the entrance hall of Art Deco gem, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.

All this in reaction to the zombie effect social media is having on people today. “If you look at people on the street, they’re just following — following trends, bloggers, influencers,” he said backstage.

The opening white look, combining a sheer blouse with feathered cuffs, a long coat and large pants, accessorized with a turban and sculptural crystal ring from the couturier’s new jewelry collection, paid homage to dancer Isadora Duncan.

He experimented with volumes and references, putting a Sixties-style black ball gown skirt with a fluid, asymmetric black-and-white top based on a kimono, for instance, while ornate nods to Les Ballets Russes and orientalism included a long dress with a cut-out at the front coated in bronze and gold silicon, with applications of pure pink gold and embroidered with coral and other embellishments.

Also adding drama was a retro silk dress with sheer organza balloon sleeves and a crystal-embellished neckline in a striking brown, yellow and white print based on the paintings of Chinese architect Song Dong with whom Rolland is launching a project “for the world,” based on bioethical products.

More approachable, though, were the clean, Parisian-flavored pieces in unusual color combinations, like a peach dress with a high split and deep V-neck embellished with white coral, its fabric looping from the hem to the shoulder to reveal a contrasting yellow underside.

After a decade of highs and lows in the fragile haute couture ecosystem, there’s a growing sense of renewal for Rolland as one of the few remaining independents on the couture scene.

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