A Michel Reybier Hospitality edition

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Stéphane Rolland

Putting a sparkle in women’s eyes

Artistic Director of Balenciaga at just 20 years of age, Stéphane Rolland entered the realm of Haute Couture at the age of 30, via the prestigious world of Jean-Louis Scherrer. Upon turning 40, he created his own Maison and began to unroll the thread of his DNA, which he shares with those who matter most: women.

When did you first know you wanted to design clothes?
I was fortunate to have artistic parents who perceived my aesthetic sensitivity at an early age and encouraged my creative spirit. One day, when I was four years old, they left me alone in a room with paper and pencils. To their great surprise, I drew a woman with a very elaborate haircut and ornate jewelry. I had already found my calling…

Did your childhood peregrinations in Argentina and the Caribbean influence your creative approach?
The nomadic life I lived from the time I was born prevented me from making friends and that was very difficult. To compensate for this lack, I escaped into my own world, featuring a mixture of fashion, cinema, music... This is what built the DNA that I am developing today.

How did you join Balenciaga, at only 20 years old?
At the time, I wanted to work with Yves Saint Laurent, of whom I was a great admirer! But Pierre Bergé sensed that I was made for Cristobal Balenciaga, that my sketches were in harmony with its architectural approach, its painter-type attitude and its way of treating colors. So he got me an appointment with the CEO, who took me under her wing and less than a year later, I was appointed Artistic Director.

A few years later, you joined Jean-Louis Scherrer and became the youngest Haute Couture designer. How did you feel about that?
Until then, I didn’t think I was cut out for Haute Couture, which I probably regarded with excessive reverence. However, with the encouragement of several professionals, I decided to give it a go! The House of Scherrer was losing ground at the time, so my team and I rolled up our sleeves and managed to rebuild Haute Couture and win back customers. Those were ten exciting years, brimming with lessons and experiences.

What made you decide, at 40 years old, to create your own House?
I suddenly had a need for freedom. By devoting myself to serving Jean-Louis Scherrer’s DNA, for which I had immense respect, I was beginning to lose my own bearings and was no longer able to express my personality. I left on a whim! It was a positive break, a breath of fresh air that allowed me to quickly find my footing and reconnect with my fundamentals.

What do your colors tell us?
I grew up surrounded by photographers, in the black and white world of studios, which I loved. One day, I realized that I must allow color to enter my world. I decided to analyze my tastes much as a psychologist would, and I understood that I was very oriental in my way of life and thinking. Desert images with beige and sandy tones flowed into my universe. Then came ochre shades, naturally followed by red symbolizing my extremely passionate Latin side, as well as gold for its energy and light.     

In terms of cuts, shapes and materials, what is your guiding thread?
“Cristobal” is never far away! My forms are inspired by sculpture and the art of movement, which I regard as essential, because a dress has to move! It must glorify the woman, reveal her, and above all not conceal her. Nothing could be worse than noticing the dress before the woman! So I work a lot with “gazar”, a noble and rebellious fabric graced with a very feminine roundness. And I always aim for extremely pure shapes, to which I add sometimes powerful details in order to create movement.

You like to build strong and rare relation-ships with your clients...
That’s why I chose to do this job! For the joy of encounters. The moment I prefer is when the woman is sitting in front of me and the bond begins to form. In the magic of this moment I discover her personality, her state of mind, her desires... Is she sad or playful? Does she want to appeal, to change her image or, on the contrary, draw closer to her true self? These are the factors that guide my pencil strokes until her eyes begin sparkle.

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www.stephanerolland.com

Based on an interview by Michèle Wouter
Picture of Stéphane Rolland © S. Tan

 
 

Images

© A. Jacquemin

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© A. Jacquemin

© A. Jacquemin

© A. Jacquemin

© A. Jacquemin

© A. Jacquemin

© A. Jacquemin

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