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Lucire: Fashion
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The pen is mighty Stéphane Rolland was inspired by a Han dynasty script for his autumn–winter 2011–12 haute couture collection.

A brushstroke on the runway

Stéphane Rolland took his haute couture inspiration from Chinese calligraphy, as Lola Saab and Léona d’Huy reveal


FRENCH FASHION DESIGNER, Stéphane Rolland, certainly does not cease to amaze people with his fabulous creations and alluring haute couture collections.

Having worked at Balençiaga as creative director of menswear and international licences followed by a stint as artistic director at Jean-Louis Sherrer, Rolland continues to thrive with his ventures in the fashion industry, impressing people with his own line of haute couture.

On July 5, Rolland presented his autumn–winter 2011–12 collection at the Palais Chaillot during Haute Couture Fashion Week. The exhibition taking place in the heart of the charming city of Paris, Rolland’s designs reflected an outstandingly stunning Asian influence. A Chinese ancestral calligraphy called caoshu served as one of Rolland’s inspirations for his extravagant new season’s collection.

Caoshu, originating in China during the Han dynasty, is a beautiful cursive script regarded as a ‘free form art’. Just as caoshu can be written without lifting the brush off the paper, each character flowingly shifting from one to the other, Rolland’s designs are flowing and bold, exemplifying refined silhouettes.

The collection portrays extravagant details and majestic creations with the dramatic make-up, tastefully fashionable hairstyles, accessories and especially the fabulous gowns, all emerging like sparks of fire and enraged flames of light to create a vivacious scene. Colours vary from vibrant and radiant shades to black and white designs, all of which illustrate an attractively stylish elegance. The mysterious charcoal eyes and dark lips marked an almost theatrical aspect. The experience is practically a dive into a different world of inventive ingenuity and splendour that screams out for more. The lining, draping, billowing capes and meticulously detailed work draw particular attention to the designer's deep artistic sense. His work could easily be identified and categorized as sculpted pieces of art.

The glamourous iconic American model, Carmen dell’Orefice, was a muse to Rolland’s remarkable collection. The stunning veteran model recently turned 80. Her charming beauty is captivating revealing elegance and class. After almost six decades in the fashion industry, her poise and stylishness serves as an inspiration not just to Rolland’s collection but to women of all ages.

Rolland provided a highly stimulating and intriguing effect as each of the models walked down the runway wearing a piece of art that also tends to represent the art of fashion in itself. The highlight of the collection would most probably be the wedding gown in kimono knit that included magnificent details.

Rolland’s impressive touch and designs are modern and contemporary with astounding vibes of colour.


NOUS ARRIVONS dans un univers d’autrefois, éblouis par des pans entiers d'édifices grandeur nature. Une scène incroyable peut alors commencer à se dérouler sous nos yeux avec la complicité du styliste cinéphile Stéphane Rolland.

Des muses défilent sur une musique guerrière, les yeux charbonneux et des bananes sophistiquées. On adore le savant mélange des robes moulantes et des tissus vaporeux, les taches noires qui dégoulinent soulignent un effet artistique sous contrôle et les ceintures métalliques cintrées rappellent Gucci. Les matériaux lourds s’associent aux fragiles drapés et les gants en cuir noir, qui recouvrent seulement les doigts rivalisent avec l’effet bourgeois des longues traînes. Ces matières que l'on a souvent craint d’assembler fusionnent à la perfection sous les yeux médusés du public.

Mais le vrai coup d’éclat de cette collection est la robe de mariée impériale blanche en crochet avec une immense traîne.

Stéphane Rolland montre avec un grand talent qu’il est à sa place parmi les douze maisons de haute couture française. •



Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.
Léona d’Huy is a correspondent for Lucire.





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In the third of a series of reports from Paris’s haute couture week, Lola Saab and Léona d’Huy attend Basil Soda’s autumn–winter 2011–12 collection on the rue Saint-Honoré
photographs courtesy Basil Soda
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Elie Saab’s autumn–winter 2011–12 haute couture collection, shown at the Théâtre National de Chaillot, literally sparkled on the catwalk, reports Lola Saab
photographs courtesy Elie Saab



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