Fashion in Motion: Stephane Rolland interview
Sarah Strickland: Stéphane Rolland, congratulations on your first catwalk show at the V& A
Stéphane Rolland: Thank you.
Sarah Strickland: Your passions are architecture, sculpture and photography. Do you visit the V& A often?
Stéphane Rolland: You know, I don' t remember when was the first time, but actually I' m in London quite often, because for me it' s my oxygen, you know. I just noticed that the V& A is such a modern place - modern and free mind and free spirit - sorry for my bad English. But the first thing ... in Paris we have the Louvre, we have amazing places, amazing museums, but what I noticed at the V& A is that you have a mix of antique which are fabulous things and also very modern pieces. So you mix modernity with fashion, sculptures, antiques, everything at the same time and it works and it' s very interesting. I think for the generation, for the new kids coming there, I mean it' s more exciting to see all those different worlds. You can see one full day in the museum without being bored.
Sarah Strickland: So you have a favourite gallery or a favourite object or is it just the museum as a whole?
Stéphane Rolland: It changes all the time - I like to discover. I like the selection of modern artists and I can say 80% or 90% I like what they present.
Sarah Strickland: And what does it mean to present your work here today?
Stéphane Rolland: It means a lot because this museum for many reasons is very important for me. I feel humble and honoured by their proposal. When they called my company, they called me to say we' d love to have your fashion show here. I said, ' Wow. The V& A? It' s fantastic' . Also for a French guy. I' m coming to London to show my work - it' s fantastic. Usually, you know, we are very proud and say ' French couture' etc, but I am not like that. I live in so many countries in my life since I was a kid so for me there are no walls. I go where I feel good and I feel good here. So that' s why I' m very happy and it' s quite a special moment for me.
Sarah Strickland: That' s great. And how do your influences like architecture and photography reflect in your work?
Stéphane Rolland: You know the light, the movement. I love the work of Ron Arad, Zaha Hadid, Anish Kapoor, who is part of me for my last show ... the movement and the generosity of the movement is very important for me. It' s true that in the way I drape and I create the volume on my dresses, I am re-inspired by those persons or maybe if I' m not inspired I see that there is a connection between my work ... I noticed when I was a kid in the drawings of Renée Gruau and now I can find in the works of David Downton as well. There is this generosity and this spontaneous way of drawing things ... I do that as well when I' m drawing and I want to find the same freedom and generosity in the draping. in the movement of the dress. It makes the dress alive.
Sarah Strickland: You started off by working for Balenciaga. Did you see yourself - it' s a very modern and distinctive label - did you see yourself following in their footsteps?
Stéphane Rolland: You' re talking about Balenciaga?
Sarah Strickland: Yes.
Stéphane Rolland: I worked at Balenciaga when I was 20 years old and I was the youngest, I was a kid, you know. And I learned a lot from this master. He was amazing. And you know, what I learned with him was more is less and less is more. So as Pierre Cardin, as St Laurent, in a way, as Mademoiselle Chanel in the past - more is less and less is more. This is the elegance and this is the chic. This is the most difficult technically to get. And at Balenciaga at that time I learnt a lot. Looking at the archives and analysing how the dresses are made and talking with people who had met the master himself before he died. So I learnt a lot, yes.
Sarah Strickland: You founded your own couture house in 2007. Did you know then what you wanted to achieve?
Stéphane Rolland: Excuse me, I don' t understand.
Sarah Strickland: When you founded your couture house in 2007, did you have a plan and know then what you wanted to achieve?
Stéphane Rolland: Of course, you have a plan. You know that you want to create your own label, you know that you want to ... of course, but we are always surprised because we never know what' s going on the day after, you know. And the economic crisis arrived - like this - when I opened my company. So ... I mean there is never a right moment to do things. We have to ... we don' t do it. But I had a feeling that it was the right moment for me. And I started with the haute couture and now my next task is to launch the pret a porter and the accessories for 2011 and 2012 and the opening of the first boutique and I cross my fingers one of three boutiques will be London. So this is the first group. Yes, so there is a plan, of course.
Sarah Strickland: And how do you plan to translate your couture to the ready to wear collection?
Stéphane Rolland: How I plan to do it? I don' t know, but I will. It has to be more simple, wearable - my couture is very wearable - but less expensive, that' s it. But my style is my style, I cannot change my style. People come to see me because of it, because they love it. So I don' t want to change anything, I just want to make it more ... sorry, less expensive that it is.
Sarah Strickland: You are finding yourself with an increasing number of fans -
Cheryle Cole and Rhianna and royalty - what is it about your style do you think that they love so much?
Stéphane Rolland: Why they love so much? That' s a good question. Maybe because I' m not ... I don' t know ... maybe because I' m not absorbing their personalities - they have strong enough personalities. Also because they feel good in the dresses, they feel sexy but they feel they are not over dressed and maybe because they find in my style something they' ve never worn before. More minimalist, but very chic couture but modern at the same time. The new blood of the couture - maybe that' s what they want.
Sarah Strickland: That' s great. Thank you very much. Congratulations again for today and good luck for your collection next year.
Stéphane Rolland: I appreciate it. Thanks to you. Thanks to you, really.