Fashion

#EXCLUSIVE: Stéphane Rolland

An interview with French couturier who wants to share a positive story and bring lightness through his glamorous designs.
Reading time 9 minutes
Stéphane Rolland | Photo: KAMRAN AMIRKHANOV

French Couturier Stéphane Rolland is well known for his inspirations related to modern art and architecture. With a particular sensitivity to space and light, Rolland creates exclusive works of art combining luxury and modernity. Through each collection, designer brings the material to life with movement and purity.

Collaborating with the most renowned artisans in Paris and many artists, Stéphane Rolland incorporates new materials combining sophistication, volumes, art and craftsmanship in all his creations. His style represents a new aesthetic ideal with the immaculate complex silhouettes, both graphic and sculptural.

Many personalities wear the creations of Stéphane Rolland, in particular Céline Dion, Rita Ora, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Cindy Bruna.

Tanja Beljanski: For your AW21 Haute Couture collection you wanted to make more positive story.

Stéphane Rolland: I wanted to share positive energies through glamorous and sensual images. Watching the news on TV tends to be depressing, and pushing an intellectual concept too far would only create headaches, so I wanted to bring some lightness and positivity.

TB: Why do you think the 70s where one of the most modern and creative times?

SR: The end of the 60’s opened a new chapter. Many artists appeared. New currents like the Pop Art were born. The new generation was craving freedom and found new ways of expressing themselves, which brought to life an enormous creativity. It is a period that is extremely rich in terms of artistic trends. Design, architecture, fashion, music and movies were vectors of extraordinary creativity and freedom. Let’s not forget it was also a time where the economic climate was much more favorable.

TB: In your latest haute couture collection, the embroidery played very important role. It is probably a key of this collection. Tell us about the inspirations and your embroidery design.

SR: I always try to create a contrast between sophistication and the purity of simplicity. This season, I was inspired by royal tiaras and crowns, and with the help of glass-blow craftsmen, I interpreted these jewels in a more abstract manner. I placed them on a shoulder, on the bust, etc.

TB: What was the inspiration for the colors you used?

SR: Black and white have always been the base of my drawings, but I reinforced the color palette with a solar and earthy note, a bit ethnic, very warm: coppers, caramels and golden yellows.

TB: How would you define the spirit of fashion in Paris?

SR: For me, Paris remains the most inspiring city for luxury in particular, and fashion in general. Today, all designers can find their place here and present their collections.

TB: How does Paris and the high-end tradition Made in France influence your designs?

SR: Paris has a special “je ne sais quoi” that makes it terribly romantic and extremely elegant. Even in the era of globalization, living in Paris remains a very particular experience, bonded with Haute Couture, since the days of Marie-Antoinette. All this history unconsciously influences the allure of my designs, whereas the shape, geometry, volumes and themes are more linked to art, architecture and the richness of the world’s cultures.

TB: What are some of your favorite traditional French couture techniques that you are proud of in your designs?

SR: I’m especially proud of my Atelier for managing to sculpt volumes into life from my drawings.

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Photos: STÉPHANE ROLLAND Haute Couture AW20/21 | Courtesy of Stéphane Rolland

TB: Your mother worked at one of the most famous Parisian photographic studios, and you grew up surrounded by black-and-white photographs. Did this have any influence on your work as a fashion designer? Are there the inspirations that come from other creative fields, such as sculpture and painting, for example?

SR: How did I come up to create everything in black and white? I was influenced by my childhood spend in photo studios. The graphics of my drawings, the architecture of my dresses, the shadows and the lights that I use, everything is linked to the photographic art. Of course, many artists continue to feed my universe: painters, photographers, designers, sculptors…

TB: If you had to pick a movie or a book character that best represents the Stéphane Rolland woman who would it be?

SR: “Shanghai Express” with Marlene Dietrich. Everything is there: the glamour, the elegance, the forbidden, the sexuality, the opulence and the mystery.

TB: Do you believe that style can be a powerful thing?

SR: It’s certainly a plus to accompany one’s life, and helps both to seduce and to feel good in one’s skin. C’est certainement un plus qui accompagne votre vie et qui vous aide autant à séduire qu’à vous.

TB: What do you hope women feel when they wear your designs?

SR: Definitely powerful! But mostly, I hope, they feel unique.

TB: How do you feel about being a part of France’s living heritage?

SR: Thank God I don’t think that way! There are so many forgotten geniuses and artists. Even today, I still feel like a student, learning from life a little bit every day. However, I admit that messages and gestures of friendship and thanks I receive when I travel are very dear to my heart.

TB: What is a typical day like for you in your atelier?

SR: Every day, I climb up and down twenty times the six flights of stairs of my Couture house! A real marathon between client appointments, technical and commercial meetings, social and accounting affairs, fittings in the atelier… The days are quite full, but full with passion!

TB: What was the most challenging about making and presenting haute couture collection during the global lockdown period?

SR: Every season is a challenge. But creating this AW20-21 collection with only five seamstresses (80% of our staff is currently on furlough) was a true challenge.

TB: How are you trying to stay positive during this difficult time?

SR: I need to remain calm and positive, in particular for my team. Protecting everyone’s job is my priority, and then I’m so lucky to have loyal and caring clients and friends who are waiting to be able to come back to Paris. Life is made of cycles, this situation might be a necessary step to make us all aware of the respect we should have for our planet.

TB: Tell us about your first ever bag project.

SR: It’s a very exciting experience! The POP bag is our new baby. It is officially launched in September, with an online sales-point on our website. The POP is an essential, basic design with a strong personality and a true functionality. Its architecture is pure and balanced, and the two golden globes holding a double handle truly make it unique. This winter, we will launch a basket, a clutch and several other accessories, then a line of “arty-couture” scarves.

TB: What do you think of the fashion scene in the Middle East?

SR: Lots of new things happening! There are more and more very interesting emerging young designers. This is a great sign! Women from the Middle East have managed to preserve a strong social life, so dressing definitely still holds its important rank. This is a considerable asset that the Europeans have unfortunately lost.

TB: What is your favorite museum or gallery in Paris you would recommend?

SR: If you’re thinking of changing your home decor, try to stop by the Galerie Yves Gastou at 12 rue Bonaparte. The furniture and contemporary art selection is unique. In another category, I love the atmosphere of 19th century Paris of the Musée JacquemartAndré. I’ve always been fascinated by the power of Rodin’s sculptures, and I always go back to observe and rediscover his bronzes and plaster moldings.

TB: After all… what is luxury to you?

SR: Take my time! To live, observe, to love…

 

POP Bag by Stéphane Rolland

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POP Bag l Satin Honeymoon Strass and Nappa Sanguaro Small l Stéphane Rolland

Launched in September 2020, Stéphane Rolland’s “Pop” bag is available in three sizes: a versatile mini, which can be both a day mini handbag and a small evening clutch; an intermediate format for everyday life; and a more spacious traveler format.

The new line of leather goods is available in smooth leather, suede, crocodile and satin. The color palette revolves around the natural hues dear to the designer, such as black, beige, brown, camel and saffron yellow. The “Pop” bag is also available in a quilted version, inspired by the 70’s design dear to the couturier.

Conceived as a timeless item meant to evolve over several seasons, the “Pop” has an attractive rectangular shape, with rounded angles, and closes with a large flap covering its entire front. In addition, its signature jewelry includes two generous gold orbs holding the double leather handle and flat chain, making the "Pop" recognizable among all. Whether in gold or paved with crystals, the globes are interchangeable. Subtle refinement: each bag comes with an integrated cushion protecting its shape, and a gold hand mirror is slipped into a compartment dedicated to makeup.

This first collection of “Pop” bags is available on stephanerolland.com Prices range from 1250€ for the mini "Pop", up to 1800€ for the traveler format. The ethical crocodile version price starts at 14000€ for the mini format.

Maison Stéphane Rolland has also launched its Ready-to-Wear capsule collection, composed of 9 timeless evening pieces, available from September 2020. This line accompanies the “Pop” bag range, and is also available online.
 

stephanerolland.com

@stephanerolland_paris

The story “Movement and Purity” by Tanja Beljanski first appeared in the October 2020 issue of L'Officiel Arabia.

 

 

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