Forgoing the more traditional formats, Stephane Rolland chose this season to present his collection in the Elysées Biarritz cinema just off the Champs-Elysées, through a short feature starring Spanish model Nieves Alvarez – Monsieur Saint Laurent’s last muse – and French actor-director Jalil Lespert. In some ways, it was reminiscent of an advertisement for a French car brand, that parodied the intellectualized doom and gloom romanticism of Nouvelle Vague movies. As one editor summed the silver screen proceedings, “Here I am alone in a cafe, waiting for you; but you’ll never return. Every city in the world reminds me of you.” Like the fake smoking gesture the actress made at one point, it was all posture and a certain theatricality in every action. Nonetheless, the sentiments came across, magnified in the same way that a certain conception of couture sublimates the act of dressing.
After the presentation, an exhibition of the actual garments awaited in the rotunda. Made for the red carpet, these gowns transcribe the sculptural play that Rolland likes. A golden collar flowed into chains that, in turn, connected to the gown’s shimmering bronze green flow of the bodice and skirt. Another dress looked like an architectural elongation of spines, protruding from the neckline, framing the wearer like a work of art. A third featured the body as the pistil of a blood red velvet rose. Others looked like Japanese sumi-e paintings in ink and expanses of white space in the form of fabric. The way dresses looked on-screen and on-camera show that Rolland knows how to make dresses that catch the eye – and the light – in the most flattering way. The actresses or famous faces that he has invited in past seasons to grace his runway are proof of that. Left to their own devices, the garments stunned by their intriguing volumes and exquisite craftsmanship.