Fall 2016 brought out a softer, simpler side of Stéphane Rolland’s dramatic aesthetic, with the designer taking a more pared down approach to his Haute Couture collection. Premiered at an intimate presentation in his Paris atelier, the designer showed his gorgeous 16- piece collection of sensational red carpet gowns.
Inspired by the work of Spanish painter Pablo Palazuelo, Mr. Rolland continued his exploration of movement and form with variations of angular and cubic shapes. “I think unconsciously I have always been inspired by the pure, graphic nature of his paintings,” Mr. Rolland remarked. And truly, his collection mirrored this graphic quality, with sculptural gowns in monochromatic block colors being manipulated into dramatic shapes with the help of jagged cutout ‘windows’ that exposed large expanses of the bust, leg and hip.
Daring and sexy, these details added provocative flair to column gowns and shift dresses, but were especially intriguing when paired with full bubble- skirted silhouettes à la Grace Kelly, to create a modern twist on the classic ballgown. It was stunning, especially when used on color- blocked gowns of black and nude taffeta, organza and tulle with soft, duvet- like skirts. These were the epitome of elegance.
A series of sculptural black and white gowns provided dramatic contrast with modern silhouettes that referenced nature and raw sexuality. “This is the yin and the yang,” Mr. Rolland explained, and the gowns reflected this. Each was centered around rigid black sheafs with undulating white accents and large body- baring cutouts. One featured ruffles that enveloped the torso like the petals of an orchid, another had panels that draped down the right flank like huge folded wings, the third, a bi-colored gown with a cape effect back was cleaved straight down the front and bared an angular line of almost naked flesh from breast to ankle. This was the most spectacular (and my favorite) of the three and makes me wonder exactly I’d wear it without an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction- but I’m willing to try!
Elsewhere in the lineup Mr. Rolland showed his softer side with gauzy gowns in draped chiffon, and cocktail dresses in nude silk duchesse. Fur was also used to tremendous effect, with Mr. Rolland taking the opportunity to showcase a few pieces from his new 15- piece “haute fur” capsule collection alongside his gowns. A white mink windowpane vest was great, as was a suede kilt skirt with a knitted mink panel at the front and two outsized knitted mink capes that left everyone wondering at their complex constructions.
Done in a graphic openwork style each knitted module was mounted on a sturdy grid of leather or silk, allowing the movement and fall of the pieces to remain light and flexible while still retaining solid strength. These pieces were fresh, modern and pure luxury, and offered a new way to approach the look and design of traditional fur coats and capes.
Mr. Rolland said that a fur interior design line is in the works, and judging from the work seen in this collection it’s bound to be great.
Stéphane Rolland’s Fall 2016 Haute Couture collection was absolutely gorgeous. Presented without the fuss or fanfare of many other houses, it was one of the best shows in the Fall Couture schedule. His work was fresh, modern and dramatically beautiful. It was pure luxury and one of my favorite shows of this season.
Xx – Ana