Not every designer can draw inspiration for a lush haute couture collection from wallpaper, but that's just where Stephane Rolland looked for his winter 2010 display.
"There was this amazing wall-covering at this apartment in New York, really elaborate and full of tubing," said the French designer in a pre-show interview with The Associated Press. "I wanted to recreate those walls."
Upon that unusual foundation, Rolland built a graphic, geometric collection that evoked Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, drained of his signature bright primary colors.
Elaborate mosaics made of fabric-wrapped plastic tubes, like bits of a plastic straws, hung from the hems of abbreviated cocktail dresses in gray and camel cashmere. Gowns of sheer silk were covered in leather lozenge-shaped appliques, like the scales of a giant lizard.
The dresses, with their powerful shoulders, dipping backs and irregular, rounded cutouts, had a retro-futuristic feel about them -- as if Rolland was channeling the Space Age as imagined in 1973.
"There's something architectural, something sculptural, something geometric and beautiful" about the collection, said French actress Emmanuelle Beart, from her front-row perch. "(He) is someone who's got a real vision, something that's unique and out-of-the-ordinary."
Rolland, a favorite of Middle Eastern royals, banked on the presence of some of his ultra-weathy couture clients to launch a wildly expensive line of custom handbags with 22-karat gold metalwork and diamond-encrusted closures.
The bags, a day purse and an evening clutch made by an exclusive French leatherwear atelier, start at euro10,000 ($NZ22,675) and go way up from there, depending on the client's specifications.
When asked how much a clutch that scintillated with 2,500 diamonds would fetch, Rolland stayed mum, raising his eyebrows enigmatically.
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