Fall 2013 Haute Couture: Stephane Rolland's Conjuring Velazquez Spirit

Pedro de Barberana

Pedro de Barberana

Stephane Rolland clearly likes artistic collaborations. For his Fall/Winter haute couture collection, first presented in Paris in July, the French grand couturier reached out to Spanish choreographer and dancer Rafael Amargo to create a mesmerizing performance for his runway presentation. Amargo was in Singapore on October 14 to perform the runway piece again for the first international presentation of Rolland’s latest couture collection, as part of Fashion Week 2013 at Marina Bay Sands.

As models slowly circled the small, white center stage where Amargo was dancing, his strong flamenco movements infused a sensual energy into the otherwise austere and minimalist collection.

The overall inspiration, Rolland said in an interview to Blouin ARTINFO, was the “spirit of [Spanish painter Diego] Velázquez,” more than any specific painting. “Just the mood of what Velázquez brought to his paintings in general… I wanted to show that art has no time,” he said.

“Everything is related to Spain from the 17th Century. At the royal court, everybody was wearing black with a white collar. Very serious images, very intense, and that’s what I loved in Velázquez and what I wanted to bring in my collection,” he added.

This strictness was translated by the designer in a series of outfits in black and navy, with only flashes of white at the collars and cuffs. The 17th-century royal lace collars, worn by men and women, transformed into origami plastrons. The designer also introduced the spirit of Spain and its matadors with long, enveloping fluid capes that billowed around the models as they moved.

The neckline was strict with vertical collars yet the overall feel was sensuous with the play of transparent inserts and slim cuts.