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Stéphane Rolland

Each season, French Couturier, Stéphane Rolland, builds his collection around a muse. Following the appearance of last season’s icon, Carmen Dell’Orefice, for this Fall 2013 show, he celebrated the most international of Spanish models, Nieves Alvarez, who opened and closed his catwalk. Commanding with her set jawline and confident stare, Alvarez is stunning—and while the collection that ensued was striking, both she and Stéphane Rolland’s Couture were, at times, upstaged by the prodigious performance of dancer and choreographer, Rafael Amargo. Performing in intervals throughout the show, each time he erupted in a storm of balletic and contemporary dance, chestnut hair whipping around him, all eyes were on him. When he did pause, intermittently, we were able to contemplate an extraordinarily graphic collection by Rolland.

While the show notes stated that Rolland would pay tribute to Spain’s Diego Velásquez, one of the leading portrait artists of the Baroque period and famous for Las Meninas, the collection instead came across to us as a foreboding sci-fi journey through the Earth’s deepest and most mysterious crevices. Jagged crystal formations gripped shoulders and clung to hemlines while indigo vinyl scales skulked around the body. Silhouettes were austere or draped in a Hellenic fashion in a color palette of black, white, and inky blue.

Like Amargo’s dance, passionate and beckoning, with this collection, Rolland explored a virtuoso accord of masculine and feminine codes. One striking look involved exaggerated, voluptuous black satin sleeves evoking thoughts of a raven carrying an ominous message; another featured striking tuxedo lapels that ran down the leg like armor, safeguarding its wearer with a sheath of elegance.

Rolland displayed a strong focus on the neckline, with strict, vertical collars in silk faille and pleated cotton, for which he sourced ancestral techniques. Through this dark journey, there was a ray of light in the form of belts made of optical glass mirrors, reflective of the soul’s unhindered optimism. For Fall 2013, with bravura, Stéphane Rolland invites women to contemplate new and powerful dress codes. But to accept his bidding, she must be bold. Atrevimos (we dare), as the Spanish would say.

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