Stéphane Rolland, the sculptor of fabric and architect of haute couture, broke with tradition for his Stephane Rolland Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2024 show, showcasing not only his own stunning creations but also the burgeoning talents of 20 fashion students from Paris’ prestigious ESMOD and Institut Français de la Mode. For Rolland, couture is an ecosystem, not a solo act, and this season he opened his stage – the grand Salle Pleyel – to a symphony of fresh voices.
Rolland and his business partner, Pierre Martinez, nurtured these emerging designers, sharing their legendary “savoir-faire,” the age-old wisdom that underpins couture‘s magic. “We trained them, guided them,” Rolland explains, his voice filled with the quiet pride of a mentor. “It’s not just about clothes,” Martinez adds with a twinkle in his eye, “it’s a human adventure.”
And what an adventure it has been. As the students’ designs graced the runway, a palpable energy crackled through the air. Each garment whispered a unique story, a testament to the boundless potential unleashed by Rolland’s tutelage. The crowd of 1,600 erupted in applause, not only for the established maestro, but for the young stars he had helped to ignite.
But Rolland, always the artist, hadn’t neglected his own muse. The Spring/Summer of 2024 was a dawn for him, a new chapter beckoning from the horizon. He envisioned a world bathed in serenity, a tapestry woven from the threads of Orient and Occident. On a vast canvas, images of sun-kissed sands and fiery sunrises set the stage. “The desert,” Rolland muses, “symbolizes infinity, an infinite peace. I wanted to capture this essence in my couture, through volumes that breathe and flow.”
And flow they did. Sinuous silhouettes echoed the undulating dunes, draped in fabrics as light as the desert breeze. A hooded tunic in rosewood silk gazar shimmered like a mirage, while a Tuareg blue organza thobe embroidered with gold threads whispered tales of ancient nomads. A long white wool gazar dress decorated with silver mosaics glistened under the imaginary desert sun, each shimmering shard reflecting a facet of the dawning day.
Stéphane Rolland’s palette reflected the ever-changing moods of the desert. Soft pinks, like the first blush of dawn, gave way to bolder hues as the sun climbed higher. Rich navies and touches of smoky gray evoked the stillness of twilight, the last embers of day giving way to the velvety embrace of night.
©Photo: Stephane Rolland