The show begins with a tribute to fashion designer Thierry Mugler, who died on Sunday, who pioneered show shows as we know them today and from which "each of us retains an emotion".

"It's good that it's back. It was about time," Stéphane Rolland told AFP in his studio, making the final touches the day before the show.

Couturier Stéphane Rolland and his muse, Spanish model Nieves Alvarez at the haute couture show in Paris, January 25, 2022 Christophe ARCHAMBAULT AFP

The movements of the muslin on the draped toga dresses hypnotize, huge hoods evoke a mystery, the bare backs that emerge from the sculpted volumes fascinate.

The oversized pebble jewels reflect the couturier's passion for stone and counterbalance the lightness of the fabrics: these "rock" dresses weigh nothing.

Stéphane Rolland parade in Paris, January 25, 2022 Christophe ARCHAMBAULT AFP

"We find my essentials with more sensuality, more lightness, like a new chapter", he summarizes.

- Russian and Middle Eastern customers-

In the midst of the Omicron wave, most of the participants in the Parisian haute couture week opted for the parades.

The Julien Fournié house, whose physical show was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, gave up on it last week, for fear of creating "a Paris haute couture cluster".

Stéphane Rolland parade in Paris, January 25, 2022 Christophe ARCHAMBAULT AFP

"I hesitated for a long time, more out of ethics, telling myself it might not be serious and I said to myself + nobody is going to come, people are going to be afraid +", says Stéphane Rolland.

"We had to say no every day, there were a lot of requests, I would be at 2,000 guests if I didn't hold back," he continues.

Stéphane Rolland parade in Paris, January 25, 2022 Christophe ARCHAMBAULT AFP

Many of its customers from the Middle East and Russia have indeed been able to travel to Paris, driving up the rate of mink and other real furs at a fashion event while luxury brands are giving it up one after another, Moncler being the latest on Tuesday.

Covid, overnight

Enthused by fashionistas' thirst for real spectacle, Stéphane Rolland also feels responsible for "a whole industry behind it" having suffered from the health crisis which has forced fashion to take refuge in the virtual.

Stéphane Rolland haute couture show in Paris, January 25, 2022 Christophe ARCHAMBAULT AFP

"I saw certain companies in the process of collapsing, caterers, hairdressers... For the models, it was terrible. They are not supported by the State, in France we were extremely helped, but the girls who come from all countries have not experienced this at all and have found themselves in extremely precarious situations".

Some models selected during the castings were finally unable to parade, because they tested positive for Covid.

Stéphane Rolland parade in Paris, January 25, 2022 Christophe ARCHAMBAULT AFP

"It's unheard of, but I was very lucky: only four to five changes out of a cabin of 20 girls," he says.

"The Covid cases arrive overnight, you do a fitting and the next day the girl can no longer do the show because she has the Covid. Everything has to be redone, all the alterations have been made before. Withdrawals last minute are very complicated to manage", says the couturier.

© 2022 AFP

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