Style reporter Amy Verner is covering the major shows at Paris Couture Fashion Week this week. Follow her on Twitter @amyverner .
The swarthy designer - he looks something like a Parisian pirate - has been presenting his namesake collection for the past four years. He is among a prestigious group of members who belongs to the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the governing body that officially designates a label as "haute couture." His client base consists predominantly of women in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Showing fashion in a museum gallery, housed with original remnants and scale models of Renaissance architecture and French monuments, can pose a challenge to anyone as interested in column orders as column dresses. An introduction of organ music filled the room with gravitas that was later lightened by a brief chorus of hooting from the photographer's pit (they may or may not have been cheering a hint of exposed breast - or perhaps just some intricate shoulder detailing).
Heavy metal - at least as far as all the belt bits, breastplate details and vertical rows of tubes down skirt fronts. Rolland introduced some rich hues - aubergine, magenta, mocha and emerald - while largely favouring black and ivory, and often together. Two dresses, one in electric yellow and another in sequins, featured an oozy band of black along the hemline, as if the models had stepped into a pool of ink before walking the runway. The final dress was a massive braided and bejeweled spectacle of a coatdress best described as wedding armour; it's a wonder the model didn't topple over.
You know that old chestnut about never letting your clothes wear you? Well, this was the trap that Rolland fell into with many of the dresses. More problematic: If these are the types of gowns designed for the wives of dignitaries and royal families in the Middle East, there will be serious issues getting through the metal detector for a state dinner.
Rolland plays into peoples' perceptions of couture: over-the-top, over-designed frocks. He has a tour de force spirit and an appreciation for women as power players. The collection seemed well suited to the role Angelina Jolie played in The Tourist or Lady Gaga in a decade or two. Draw your own conclusions.
Amy Verner live from Couture Fashion Week in ParisReport Typo/Error