Monday 6 July 2009

Stephane Rolland aims to please all senses with latest haute couture collection

Paris' haute couture shows opened in an unusually sober mood on Monday (July 6), as financial woes forced even the world's most extravagant fashion scene to confront economic reality.
On the catwalks, sequinned gowns with billowing trains spoke of luxury, but backstage the talk was of cash-strapped Americans and crisis-hit Lacroix, whose fashion house is under creditor protection.

Couturier Stephane Rolland spoke of the value of designs ahead of his show in which soft white, grey and black draped dresses along with sharply tailored jackets with pleated collars had mass appeal.

"What is important for me, for the launch of this brand and especially for the continuation of this brand, is to always have the same level of quality of haute couture. And especially, so that commercially, people continue to buy it. It is to never cheat and never deceive. It means that, you come to have a unique piece made with the best materials, made with the best technology. And that's what makes these pieces unique and eternal," he said.

Rolland's floor-length gowns with long trains seemed designed with the Saudi wedding market in mind, and he has also stepped into the high-margin accessories sector with a new handbag collection.

"I worked a lot on the touch, maybe because I'm Latin, it's necessary for me to touch. And I like the curve, the sensuality. I need my hands to feel the touch, like this. And so I wanted in this collection for you to feel the need to caress the material," Rolland said of the collection.

Raised in the south of France, Argentina and the West Indies, Rolland set his sights on Paris at an early age.

U.S. socialites, Asian tycoons and Middle Eastern royals in search of wedding dresses have kept a small number of haute couture houses and their Parisian workshops afloat, and at the last shows in January that fan base still turned out in force.

But the fate of Lacroix, whose fairytale displays of embroidered silks and bubble dresses used to be one of the highlights of the Paris shows, cast a shadow over this season.

While big labels such as Christian Dior or Giorgio Armani mainly use haute couture as a glamorous marketing tool to sell more profitable perfumes and accessories, smaller brands need to be increasingly resourceful.


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