"Haute Couture is about pushing a design to its limits, about innovation and creativity at its best."Stephane Rolland who just reveiled his Spring-Summer 2021 Couture collection inspired by the spanish artist Manolo Valdes about his own definition of Haute Couture, about creativity in times of crisis and about having dinner with Cristobal Balenciaga in an exclusive interview with IRK Magazine.
Interview by @martinmanuelry
IRK: How would you describe the quintessence of the maison de haute couture Stephane Rolland?
Stephane Rolland: I love working with black and white, the most simple colors, and I always start working from two elements: the square, which brings structure and some rigor to the silhouette, and the perfection of the circle. From these simple volumes, I work on building a silhouette that embodies effortlessness and elegance - which is not always an easy thing to do, as you know ! It's important to me to do the hard work on every detail of the garment, so that when my clients slip into my designs they immediately feel good, well-proportioned, and beautiful. I believe a woman should never feel uneasy in a garment, as it is supposed to empower her and to emphasize her beauty, so this is where I focus my energy.
IRK: It is a difficult time at the moment due to the health crisis, lockdowns and restrictions. How did you manage to find inspiration during this time and what exactly inspired you for your Spring Summer 2021 collection?
Stephane Rolland: I believe it is during times of hardship that we should be at our most creative. Of course, this is not an easy period...but I know that Covid will end one day, wether that day is next month or in a year's time. Even wars end, and pandemics finish too ! In the meantime, I don't think any of us should be more depressed than we already are, so it's important for me to stay positive and keep working, to preserve my Maison and my team, which is like a family to me. For this collection, I did not want to be timid with the designs because of the current period, so I went for volume, boldness and strength. The work of Manolo Valdés on the Meninas, itself inspired by Diego Velàzquez's painting from the 17th century, were my main inspiration this season. I have known Manolo's sculptures for years and they have been haunting me with their perfect proportions, and their echos of circles and squares - which as I mentioned earlier, is a key "ingredient" to my designs.
IRK: Stephane Rolland is part of 12 maisons de Haute Couture. For you, what does haute couture stand for and what is your personal definition of haute couture?
Stephane Rolland: Haute Couture to me is the opportunity to work with the incredible parisian craftmanships: wether working with a small atelier producing feathers, jewels, or the most incredible fabrics, I am always thankful to be able to work with the finest, the most passionate craftmen. Haute Couture is about pushing a design to its limits, about innovation and creativity at its best. Then it all comes together in the shape of a beautiful dress, all to make the woman wearing it feel like an absolute queen - an that makes all the hard work worth it !
IRK: How does Paris as the fashion capital inspire you in your everyday life but also your creative work?
Stephane Rolland: Paris is my home and still it inspires me every day. There must be something in the air that makes it unlike any other city, and I wouldn't see myself designing anywhere else ! Whenever, wherever you are in Paris, there is always something beautiful and inspiring to look at, wether it is in the architecture, in the way Parisian ladies dress, or in the way someone has decorated their balcony with flowers. Beauty is inescapable in Paris
IRK: If you could have dinner with 3 people from the fashion industry who would it be and why?
Stephane Rolland: I would love to have dinner with Cristobal Balenciaga - obviously Mr Balenciaga has always been a kind of mentor, and I am sure that in an intimate dinner format he would have been an amazing conversationalist with a good sense of humor.
I would also invite Diana Vreeland to this imaginary dinner, because I've always found her incredibly brilliant, beautiful and witty.
My last guest would be Richard Avedon - so he could immortalize this dinner party with magnificent photos !