Monday, 17 September 2018

Life is a Cabaret: Jean Paul Gaultier's Theatre of Fashion

A play of transparency and words: Smoking, No Smoking were key to Jean Paul Gaultier's latest haute couture collection in Paris. Main pciture and all photographs by Elli Ioannou. Cover picture of the Tony Ward haute couture show by Anna Cappello
Jean Paul Gaultier's latest haute couture collection was one of the highlights in Paris last month. The French couturier dances to his own muse and imbues his creations with a vision of the world where clothes say more than just what you are wearing. While his fashion shows are like a cabaret, he will premiere his first autobiographical revue at the Folies Bergère this October. Story by Jeanne-Marie Cilento and Elli Ioannou

An electric blue pleated skirt and jacket contrasts
with the predominantly black and white
AW1819 collection
TODAY, French designer Jean Paul Gaultier creates two haute couture collections a year and he puts all of his vibrant energy and swirling ideas into making them more like performance pieces. His designs are a form of self expression but are also full of witty social, cultural and political commentary. He also manages the difficult feat of creating avant-garde pieces that are also beautifully tailored and wearable.

This time as writer, director and set designer, Mr Gaultier is also taking his work into the theatre. The couturier is currently rehearsing his autobiographical revue called Fashion Freak Show in Paris. He says it is a new form of theatre that combines both a revue and a fashion show and includes actors, dancers and circus performers with dozens of specially designed new outfits.

Mr Gaultier is planning on taking the audience on a journey from his childhood and early career to his most flamboyant fashion shows and nights spent at Le Palace and London. He also pays tribute to other artists that have inspired him from filmakers Pedro Almodovar and Luc Besson to singers like Madonna and Mylène Farmer and dancers such as Régine Chopinot and Angelin Prejlocaj.

 It is a new form of theatre combining both revue and fashion show with actors, dancers and circus performers

To bring the project to fruition he collaborated with Tonie Marshall, who co-directs the show. The designer says it will have music from disco to funk and from pop to rock and new wave ~ a playlist that he says has inspired him throughout his life. The revue will open in October at the cabaret music hall of the Folies Bergère and run until December.

The swirling smoke and filmy curtains at the cabaret-like
haute couture show in Paris
It is nearly four years since Jean Paul Gaultier stopped producing ready-to-wear collections for men and women. Instead, Puig Beauty and Fashion Group, the brand's Spanish majority shareholder who bought out Hermès stake seven years ago ~ after the designer was creative director from 2003 to 2010 ~ now focuses on Jean Paul Gaultier perfumes and the couture line.

Haute couture had originally brought Mr Gaultier great success when he started the collection in 1997, initially without the backing of a large company. Here he found his creative playground where he was able to express his eclectic and experimental aesthetic even more freely than in his pret-a-porter collections.

Jean Paul Gaultier's designs are a form of self expression but are also full of witty social, cultural and political commentary  

A beautifully tailored iteration of Le Smoking,  
in silk and sequins for the AW1819
haute couture collection
In Paris last month, the designer presented a lively show of his new work at the Jean Paul Gaultier headquarters at 325 Rue Saint-Martin in the Marais. The atmosphere was like a film set and the grand building like a small palace that provided the backdrop to Mr Gaultier's private party where everyone was invited to celebrate. Walking up
the grand staircase, with its encrustations of decorative plasterwork and tall mirrors, guests arrived along with the media, camera crews and lots of champagne. Unlike the start of many fashion shows, it felt welcoming, fun, colourful and inclusive: we were being invited inside his home and his tribe was there to celebrate.

The atmosphere was relaxed like a cabaret club and cocktail party, a contrast to the often solemn and impersonal nature of other couture shows. Waiters and waitresses served drinks wearing the signature Gaultier breezy white and blue striped sailor tops.

This autumn/winter 2018/19 season, the theme was Le Smoking, the tuxedo for women originally created by Yves Saint Laurent and a leitmotif that has long run through Jean Paul Gaultier's work. There were different iterations of the tuxedo from short and shapely cropped jackets with silk lapels and voluminous capes to elegant, long gowns with bustier tops that showed Mr Gaultier's fine tailoring.

The couturier manages the difficult feat of creating avant-garde pieces that are also beautifully tailored and wearable

A long train in diaphanous silk organza
forms a curling trail like a cloud of smoke
But this season, le smoking was expressed quite literally with not only beautifully cut black and white suits but also with faux cigarettes made into ear broaches and necklaces. He uses the cigarette ~ with all of its fraught contemporary connotations ~ as a symbol of freedom of expression.

Appearing from a backdrop of filmy white curtains amid curling smoke, models waved electronic cigarettes, pipes and cigarette-holders as they walked the white, raised runway.

The domed ceiling had a neon blue projection of the words smoking or no smoking and the electronic soundtrack was filled with the sound of matches lighting, smoke being breathed out and the occasional cough. A diaphanous, organza dress in pale, gossamer greys with a long, floating train closed the show suggesting nothing more than a sinuous curl of smoke.

The collection was presented on a classic, white runway with a neon blue stage backdrop and it felt like a theatre or cabaret space. The choreography on the runway moved between models walking straight along the catwalk to more theatrical moments when male and females took off their jackets and exchanged them with each other.

From early in his career, Mr Gaultier has been questioning gender roles, long before androgyny had become the dominant trope in avant-garde fashion. This time, he used the free the nipple campaign as a comment on restrictive dress laws and social media controls with models wearing transparent plastic shields. For the finale, a man and a woman came out topless except for these wedges of clear plastic that reached up to their faces. One read in French: Tetons Libres and the other Free the Nipple harking back to the designer's young days as French fashion's enfant terrible.

From the start of his career, Jean Paul Gaultier has been questioning gender roles, long before androgyny became the dominant trope in avant-garde fashion

Free the Nipple and Tetons Libres on the transparent
shield-like tops that the models
wore like fashion armour
Apart from the transparent shields, looking like a form of armour, the models wore long leather gloves and black and white skirt-trousers. The stiff plastic quadrilinear shapes were also used on other outfits as oversized wraps and rectangular counterpoints on sleeves and shoulder junctions. Black and white gaiters were worn with stockings and socks adding to the burlesque aesthetic of the collection.

Jean Paul Gaultier has created revolutions in the fashion world that reverberated beyond the rarefied world of Paris and were reported on by the international press, eventually ending up as pop culture references. Two of his stand-out creations were the satin conical bra and sculptural corset he designed for Madonna's 1990 Blond Ambition tour that made him known on the world's fashion stage and the “man skirt” created for the Jean Paul Gaultier menswear collections in 1985. He subverted ideas of traditional masculinity and femininity by including these skirts for men and kilts in his work. Twenty years later, Mr Gaultier organised Braveheart: Men in Skirts exhibition at the Costume Institute of New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which showed his designs and those by Dries van Noten, Vivienne Westwood and Rudi Gernreich. The aim was to show designers who used the skirt in men's fashion as a way to upend social codes and redefine ideals of masculinity.

The exuberant front row being photographed
before the Jean Paul Gaultier AW1819 show
Mr Gaultier has always worked beyond the tight confines of haute couture, designing costumes for both theatre and also major films. And he has continued to work with singers like Madonna, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Katy Perry, designing their stage costumes.

His gowns are also worn on the red carpet by actors such as Marion Cotillard Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett and many others.

Starting out, Jean Paul Gaultier didn't have any formal training as a fashion designer but as a teenager he had the chutzpah to send his sketches to famous couturiers. Pierre Cardin was the first to recognise this young talent and took him on as an assistant in his studio when the designer turned eighteen years old in 1970. A year later, after training with Cardin, he worked for French designers Jacques Esterel and Jean Patou.

The aim was to show designers who used the skirt in men's fashion as a way to upend social codes and redefine ideals of masculinity

Mr Gaultier's own first collection was launched in 1976 and by the early 1980s he had become well known for playing with traditional gender roles and his work inspired by streetwear and popular culture plus his use of models who were androgynous and tattooed and often didn't fit the rake thin frame that was (and often still is) considered the ideal in fashion.

Jean Paul Gaultier runs down the catwalk at the end of
his latest couture show in Paris
For this latest haute couture show, instead of having just a single model walking the runway, Mr Gaultier also paired male and females side by side, wearing variations of the one look. The designer also made a special homage to the Fez, part of an early menswear collection where he collaborated with hat designer extraordinaire Stephen Jones. This time, the hats were jauntily worn by both male and female models in pale greys with long tassells. A male model wearing a Fez and a mouth guard, ceremoniously removed it as a symbol of freedom of speech while others playfully danced on the runway.

At the end of the entertaining show, Jean-Paul Gaultier dashed out, running and waving his arms, expressing the joie de vivre that still infuses his work with the fun and sense of play which differentiates him from the formal sobriety that dominates other haute couture houses in Paris. It will be interesting to see whether the upcoming revue about his own life at the Folies Bergere matches the drama and theatre on his catwalks.

Tap photographs for slideshow highlights from Jean Paul Gaultier's AW1819 Haute Couture Show
Jean Paul Gaultier creates two haute couture collections a year and he puts all of his vibrant energy and ideas into making them more like performance pieces.
The designer also manages the difficult feat of creating avant-garde pieces that are also beautifully tailored and wearable.
His designs are a form of self expression but are also full of witty social, cultural and political commentary.
Haute couture had originally brought Mr Gaultier great success when he started the collection in 1997, initially without the backing of a large company.
It is four years since Jean Paul Gaultier stopped producing ready-to-wear collections for men and women. Instead, Puig, the brand's Spanish majority shareholder now focuses on Jean Paul Gaultier perfumes and the couture line.
 Starting out, Jean Paul Gaultier didn't have any formal training as a fashion designer but as a teenager he had the chutzpah to send his sketches to famous couturiers.
Pierre Cardin was the first to recognise this young talent and took him on as an assistant in his studio when the designer was eighteen.

A year later, after training with Cardin, he worked for French designers Jacques Esterel and Jean Patou.
Black and white gaiters were worn with stockings and socks adding to the burlesque aesthetic of the collection.
Mr Gaultier' first collection was launched in 1976 and by the early 1980s he had become well known for playing with traditional gender roles and his work inspired by streetwear and popular culture.
The collection was presented on a long, classic runway with a neon blue stage backdrop and it felt like a theatre space or cabaret.
 There were different iterations of the tuxedo from short and shapely cropped jackets with silk lapels and voluminous capes to elegant, long gowns with bustier tops that showed Mr Gaultier's fine tailoring.
The French couturier dances to his own muse and imbues his creations with a vision of the world where clothes say more than just what you are wearing.


From early in his career, Mr Gaultier has been questioning gender roles, long before androgyny had become the dominant trope in avant-garde fashion.


He subverted ideas of traditional masculinity and femininity by including skirts for men and kilts in his work.

Jean Paul Gaultier has created revolutions in the fashion world that reverberated beyond the rarefied world of Paris and that were reported widely by internationally, ending up in popular culture.
Mr Gaultier has always worked beyond the tight confines of haute couture, designing costumes for both theatre and also major films.

He  has continued to work with singers like Madonna, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Katy Perry,
designing their stage costumes.


With his haute couture collections, the designer  found his creative playground where he was able to express his eclectic and experimental aesthetic even more freely than in his pret-a-porter collections.
His gowns are also worn on the red carpet by actors such as Marion Cotillard Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett and many others.
This time le smoking was expressed quite literally with not only beautifully cut black and white suits but also with faux cigarettes made into ear broaches and necklaces.
Le Smoking given another form with its voluminous shape and scalloped tulle edging, finished off with a a pop of colour
with the red tights.  
A male model wearing a Fez and a mouth guard, ceremoniously removed it as a symbol of freedom of speech while others playfully danced on the runway. 



Thursday, 26 July 2018

Film Noir Femme Fatale: Julien Fournie's 'First Crime' Collection

One of the dramatic gowns in red and black with hand embroidery at Julien Fournié's haute couture show in Paris. Photograph (above) and cover picture by Elli Ioannou for DAM. See video of show below
The femme fatale of film noir was the inspiration for French couturier Julien Fournié's enthralling new First Crime haute couture collection for Autumn Winter 2018/19 held in the darkly atmospheric and historic surrounds of the 17th Century Temple Protestant de l'Oratoire du Louvre in Paris, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Photographs by Elli Ioannou

A shimmering blue gown that clings
to the body yet has a high,
asymmetrical décolleté
AS the haunting sound of a remixed Heart of Glass by Blondie soars up into the vaulted arches of the Oratoire du Louvre, the silhouette of a woman appears against a blood-red background wearing a sleek gown of black feathers. She is the first of the sultry femmes fatales to appear on the runway. Like heroines from an Alfred Hitchcock film, played by Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren or Kim Novak, the models walk haughtily down the runway of Julien Fournié's dramatic haute couture show. The designer has used Hitchcock's famous quote: "Suspense is like a woman. The more left to the imagination, the more the excitement" ~ as a leitmotif for the collection.

The couturier encourages you to wonder if the impassively beautiful women with their figure-hugging, chic clothes are the hunter or the hunted. Called First Crime, the collection is inspired by film noir masters such as Hitchcock, Agatha Christie and Paul Verhoeven and the clothes have suitably anatomical cuts that cling seductively close to the body. The feathered black dress that opens the show has a 1950s silhouette with a slim waist and wide A-line skirt that shows the extraordinary handiwork of Julien Fournie's Paris ateliers, including the beautiful embroidery and sequins, all made in-house.

This is Mr Fournié's best collection yet ~ cohesive and engaging with cleverly sculptural drapery and beautifully cut asymmetrical bias inlays. The colour palette is equally dramatic with a mix of ruby red and dark blue contrasted with fawn. Fabrics include mohair, silk and chiffon with several gowns and a pantsuit covered in a cascade of rippling sequins that subtly change colour from burgundy to violet and blue.

This is Julien Fournié's best collection yet with  sculptural drapery and beautifully cut asymmetry

This graphic,fluid dress is a standout
designs of the collection
The designer says the collection was also inspired by the television series The Handmaid’s Tale and particularly the characters Offred, played by Elisabeth Moss and Serena Joy, played by Yvonnes Strahovski. The couturier wanted the designs to be very clear cut and free of obvious embellishments. The long silhouettes are emphasised by flowing skirts, swirling at the end of the runway. One of the standout designs from the collection is the graphic yellow, white and black gown (see at left) cinched at the waist that follows the shapely form of the woman but is buttoned to the neck with long sleeves.

Other highlights of the collection include an ankle-length gown in mustard-yellow with a full skirt (see below) and a glimmering, electric blue evening dress that fluidly clings to the body revealing the form yet concealing the body with a long sleeves and a wonderfully draped skirt (see above). A virtuoso example of the work of Fournié's ateliers is the long, shimmering gown that changes colour from deep reds and purples in a column of sequins overlaid with silk chiffon in burgundy and blue (see in highlights below).

Julien Fournié's family background is directly connected to the making of clothes and accessories, as one set of grandparents were tanners and another made lingerie and corsets. The designer has a Castilian mother and a French father and although growing up he loved to draw, Fournié decided to study medicine and take a degree in Biology once he finished school. However, after two years he changed to study fashion and went on to the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, graduating in 2000. His early promise was evident as he won the Moet & Chandon Prize for best accessories when he graduated. Also during the three years of study and apprenticeship, he worked at famous fashion houses to develop his skills such as at Nina Ricci, Christian Dior and Givenchy haute couture.

The couturier wanted the designs to be very clear cut and free of obvious embellishments

A flowing mustard-yellow gown with
a full skirt and buttoned to the neck
One of the highlights after Julien Fournié graduated, was working for Jean-Paul Gaultier who employed him as an assistant designer in haute couture for the Autumn Winter 2001/2002 collection and he also had the opportunity to work on the stage costumes for a Madonna tour.

Later the young designer gained a lot of experience as the creative director at other brands, including at Paris-based haute couture fashion house Torrente. But when he was 32 years old, Mr Fournié founded his own eponymous haute couture company. The designer had always loved the fine workmanship and tailoring of haute couture and the work of the French ateliers that produce and decided that by 2009 he was ready.

It took only two years for the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Française ~ the governing body of the French fashion industry ~ to grant Julien Fournié's fashion house guest member status in 2011, which allowed the brand to bear the “Haute Couture” label and participate in the Paris Haute Couture fashion week.

By 2016, the Federation Française de la Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture announced that its members had convened on December 16th and elected two new members to the full status of haute couture. One was the storied French house Schiaparelli, which was founded in the 1930s by Elsa Schiaparelli, and the other was Julien Fournié. He is the 15th designer to become a couturier and to have been officially elected as a permanent member like the big houses such as Dior, Chanel and Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Julien Fournié first worked at famous fashion houses to develop his skills such as at Nina Ricci, Christian Dior and Givenchy haute couture.

 Julien Fournié takes his bow at his AW1819 haute
couture show in Paris
"I'm part of the ninth generation of couturiers, so I have to be the protector of the traditional and handmade savoir-faire of haute couture, namely: embroiderers, feather workers, people who make flowers in an incredible way," the designer said.

"But also, I should project the métier into the future. And that’s haute couture, it has to always be three steps ahead. The official name ‘permanent member of Haute Couture’ and the fact that I am one of the 15 worldwide houses that have this label, is going to have crucial repercussions for my business."

Julien Fournié  is now part of select group of grand couturiers and fashion houses that include: Adeline André, Alexandre Vauthier, Alexis Mabille, Chanel, Christian Dior, Franck Sorbier, Giambattista Valli, Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela, Maurizio Galante, Schiaparelli, Stéphane Rolland and Yiqing Yin.

Watch the video of the Paris show and see further highlights from the collection below


This long, shimmering gown changes colour from deep reds and purples in a column of sequins overlaid with silk chiffon in burgundy and blue.
The brilliant "anatomical cut" around the body that Julien Fournié is known for, that also combines the lilting flow of a full skirt to the ankles.  


The swing of a brilliant blue skirt at the end of the runway at the atmospheric and historic surrounds of the 17th Century Temple Protestant de L'Oratoire du Louvre in Paris.
Like heroines from an Alfred Hitchcock film, played by Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren or Kim Novak, the models sashayed down the runway.
In voluminous blue and green, this pantsuit and long coat have the feeling of a 1950s femme fatale.

 The spectacular bridal gown with its lace bodice and full skirt recalled Grace Kelly's wedding dress to Prince Rainier in Monaco in 1955.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

The Elegant Nomad: Couturier Stéphane Rolland's New Rhythm

Stéphane Rolland's AW18/19 couture collection on stage at Radio France in Paris. Cover and main picture by Elli Ioannou for DAM
French couturier Stéphane Rolland's uplifting new haute couture show was held at Radio France in Paris with live percussionists. Inspired by the romance of the Silk Road and the reality of our contemporary peripatetic lives, the Autumn/Winter 2018/19 collection was full of both billowing silhouettes and sleek, figure-hugging outfits evoking the modern urban nomad. Story by Grania Connors. Additional reporting and photographs by Elli Ioannou

Voluminous gowns in rich silks
 
THE rousing sound of six percussionists playing vigorously above the stage created an exciting and lively backdrop to couturier Stéphane Rolland's latest couture collection in Paris.
 
Not for him a nondescript and soulless white runway with models marching down the centre to an electronic beat. Wearing billowing capes and richly embroidered gowns, models criss-crossed the steps of the famous Studio104 at Radio France, creating beautiful compositions of moving figures in chiaroscuro in time to the music.

This Autumn/Winter 2018/19 collection also hinted at spring with feather-light taffeta ballgowns, floating across the stage. "We've worked very hard on this show," Stéphane Rolland says backstage. "There are many different artists involved and it's been so wonderful to put together and collaborate with musicians at the Radio France orchestra, which usually performs all over the world but managed to make itself available." The couturier was inspired by travel from the Silk Road to Europe and the Middle East and the collection has a dramatic play of drapery and volume suggesting billowing capes blowing in the breeze as travellers cross a mountain pass or the dunes of a desert .

Skirts are slit the to thigh to reveal contrasting
pants in burgundy or cream
"I worked a lot on generous volumes," he explains. "You know when you’re in the desert, and you drape yourself, to protect yourself from the heat and cold."

Reflecting the travel of another age on horseback he also has tightly-fitting jodhpurs as part of the collection.

"These were all images in my head, from the Silk Road, from Asia, through Europe, Eastern Europe to the Middle East, and the whole mix, because what this collection tells us is that we are all nomads today."

"What this collection tells us is that we are all nomads today"

Wearing a beautifully draped white top and cape with a long, straight skirt the first model emerges from the darkness of the stage to the sounds of the percussionists. To the beat of drums, another appears with a tailored but wonderfully fluid dark suit with wide lapels. Crossing the wooden stairs, with sleek hair pulled back into a long pony tail, a tall girl steps down in a creamy-white column of a dress with a flowing, one-sleeved camel jacket belted at the waist with a neat, boxy bag attached.

Gleaming black silk dresses with form-fitting
necks and shoulders contrasted with long,
embroidered cashmere coats
Mr Rolland says he wanted to create a collection that was both wearable and opulent using richly-textured materials. The palette ranges from subtle earthy shades in cream and camel to dark red and gleaming blacks. Fluid, silk pantsuits and graceful jackets are mixed with long coats and slender, embroidered trousers. One of the key accessories was the neat case-clutch made by leather craftsman Philippe Martial worn as a belt and a cuff.

The sense of movement and richness in the collection is enhanced by capacious gowns and coats (see at left) in black and white. A floor length yet simple dress is enlivened with sparkling embroidered crystals and a hooded cape fluttering behind. An evening dress in pale sand with a train attached from the shoulders is decorated with silky-black, three-dimensional flowers and a wide collar embellished with glimmering jewels ~ conjuring up the romance of another age yet with a contemporary twist.

Mr Rolland creates new forms, merging tops, capes, trousers and skirts into one fluent, cohesive design. Loose white trousers are worn with a stylish combined top and coat with puffed and ruched sleeves. Two of the standouts pieces are a voluminous, tobacco-hued mohair coat with billowing sleeves and high neck embellished with mother of pearl (see below) and a figure-hugging top covered in glinting jewels and draped across one shoulder with a long train.

Dramatic plays of drapery and volume suggest billowing capes blowing in the breeze

Figure-hugging leather slit to the navel at the front
and cut low at the back 
Providing a contrast to the pale, flowing pieces are slim, leather pantsuits with a slit to the navel at the front and a surprisingly low cut back, finished with a silken train (see at left).

The designer likes to play with transparency and sculptural forms and this was highlighted by a long, white gown covered in a dynamic, all-over pattern and completed with a floating train. Contrasting with the cream and camel tones of the first pieces to come on to the stage in Paris were a deep burgundy pantsuit and a finely pleated top with large sleeves and a sleek evening gown with long side splits and sparkling embroidery around the shoulders and neck.

One of the most evocative creations of Stéphane Rolland's couture collection is a pale grey silk blouse with wide, pleated sleeves and the waist drawn tight with a flowing skirt behind worn with crystal encrusted form-fitting pants (see main picture above). A black coat dress with one sleeve is wonderfully tailored with a contrast of sparkle from long, tight trousers. A silken, black evening gown is enlivened with a transparent front panel and long splits and a jewelled collar and large, fabric flower floating on one shoulder.

A fluid, cream skirt, cape and top that appears
to merge into on flowing form. The black short top
is finished with wide camel lapels
Mr Rolland's skill as a couturier is exemplified by his creation of new forms, like the black, split skirt worn with a full-sleeved top with wide camel lapels and a cream confection that effortlessly blends cape, sleeve, top and skirt (see at right).

Closing the Paris show were summery sprites emerging from the long chrysalis of winter wearing frothy, translucent ball gowns in taffeta with puffed sleeves (see cover picture).

Dotted with glinting crystals, the final gown was completed with a coronet by jeweller Maison Boghossian who collaborates with Stéphane Rolland on his haute couture collections.

Closing the show were summery sprites emerging from the long chrysalis of winter wearing frothy, translucent gowns

Couturier Stéphane Rolland at the finale of his
AW18/19 show in Paris
The artistry of Stéphane Rolland work has been built on a solid foundation. The designer worked at Balenciaga in his early twenties as creative director of menswear and by the time he was 24 years old he had already launched his own prêt-à-porter business.
He pursued this for six years before becoming artistic director of a haute couture fashion house for a decade. Mr Rolland has also worked as a costume designer and was nominated twice for the prestigious Molière awards. Eleven years ago, he presented his first couture collection under his own name. Today, he is one of only fourteen fashion designers who are full members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris.

See more highlights from the show below or tap on photographs for full-screen slideshow
 Closing the Paris show were summery sprites emerging from the long chrysalis of winter wearing frothy, translucent ball gowns in taffeta with puffed sleeves.
"We've worked very hard on this show," Stéphane Rolland says backstage. "There are lot of different artists and it's been so wonderful to put together and collaborate with musicians at the Radio France orchestra."
Crossing the wooden stairs, with sleek hair pulled back into a long pony tail, a tall girl ascends the wooden stairs in a creamy- white column of a dress with a flowing, one-sleeved camel jacket belted at the waist with a neat, boxy bag attached. 
  An evening dress in pale sand with a train decorated with silky black three-dimensional flowers and a wide collar embellished with glimmering jewels. A floor length, simple gown is enhanced with sparkling embroidered crystals and a hooded cape fluttering behind.
On of the standout pieces, a voluminous, tobacco-hued mohair coat with billowing sleeves and high neck embellished with mother of pearl.
One of the key accessories was the neat case-clutch made by leather craftsman Philippe Martial worn as a belt and a cuff.
 "I worked a lot on generous volumes, " the designer explains. "You know when you’re in the desert, and you drape yourself, to protect yourself from the heat and cold."
Contrasting with first pieces to come on to the stage in Paris, were fluid pantsuits in deep burgundy and white.
 
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