Energy and emotion were at the heart of it all for French couturier Stéphane Rolland: the venue, the setting and of course the Autumn/Winter 2017-18 collection he showcased on 4th July. The designer celebrated his label`s ten years in fashion at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, presenting a rather special collection, at once grand and much more than a mere anniversary effort. Far from being a `best of`, the collection bore Rolland`s unmistakable imprint, fine-tuned in ten years of work, with the timeless dichotomy of black and white always in the background. Like concert pianist Claire-Marie Le Guay and opera singer Béatrice Uria Monzon, whose performances made the show`s atmosphere absolutely unique, Stéphane Rolland`s women are at once striking and touching. As powerful as the sharp cut of their long crepe sheath dresses with accented shoulders, and yet emotional in their distinctive details: a cape, a veil seemingly frozen in the instant the breeze ruffles it, shaking it free, or the strips of gilded leaves running along the shoulder or down the side of a dress. The search for the perfect silhouette extends throughout the collection, just as Rolland`s long gowns which flare at the ankles elongate the figure. Cuts are minimalistic, pared-down, yet far from austere, slit dresses and sheer effects adding a seductive allure to looks in which emotion is shaped by artistry. The foliage motif is a throwback to Calder`s mobile sculptures, a corset`s cleavage is decorated with an Art Deco design, a sculpted breastplate has a tribal totem feel. Jewellery is woven into the dresses, its powerful presence the mark of a strong personality.For a loyal audience, which notably included Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, Stéphane Rolland has showcased a collection to be enjoyed "as a musical score, lyrical and searching for the essential, going back to its roots." It resonated like an opera tune in the couturier`s mind, and found a harmonious echo in the show`s setting and its grand finale, to the audience`s rapturous applause.