Pamella Roland celebrates two decades of shimmering success

Empowering women with princess silhouettes and ostrich feathers, Pamella Roland comes home to timeless classics.

Linsey Liao, Contributing Writer

In the heart of Hudson Square, Pamella Roland launched her Spring/Summer 2023 collection. 

A full two decades have passed since the designer debuted her first collection at the 2002 New York Fashion Week, and today, Roland’s brand — all laser-cut crystals and floor-length glamor — has flourished into the label of choice amid countless Hollywood stars including actors Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry. This season’s show was hosted atop a lucidly minimalistic runway with large white pillars lining the concrete floors and glass block windows shedding light into the space. To mark the brand’s 20th anniversary, Roland chose to reference classics embroidered within the brand’s history: magnificent silhouettes and megawatt ballgowns, complemented by ostrich feathers, cluster beading and signature ombres. 

The audience for the show was as high-profile as the collection itself: In front of a flower wall, many gurus and fashion designers were seen conversing, enjoying cocktails and snapping pictures. Businesswoman and model Nicky Hilton made her appearance in a black sequin suit set, a signature piece within Roland’s Resort 2023 collection. Christine Chiu — star of Netflix’s “Bling Empire” — was seen chatting with fans in a pink and black cocktail dress, echoing the color palette of this season’s collection. 

Be it the metallic colors and exotic sports cars in pre-fall 2017, or the Claude Monet-inspired soft palettes in Resort 2020, the motif of the collections in prior years was almost always extravagant. There were, however, always a few modest looks present in the previous collections to complement the embellishments of other gowns. Roland broke the rules of the past this season, through unapologetic flamboyance, leaving the audience no time to recover as models paraded across the runway draped in delectable colors and cuts. There was simply nothing rudimentary about the collection, and each piece left the audience breathless.

The pairing of the venue’s simplistic setup with the models’ natural makeup allowed for the audience’s attention to fall on the gowns. Crepe, chiffon and tulle were prevalent fabrics within this season’s collection, brought to life with plunging necklines, floor-length capes and gemmed fringes. One magnificent lilac sequin double cape gown was made complete with ostrich feathers and sparkling crystals. The semi-sheer cape that trailed delicately behind the model as she made her way down the runway resembled wind in a concrete form. Other pieces featured low-back dresses and shoulder pads that allowed the models’ exposed backs to be countered by broad shoulders. A look popular amid the crowd was the second-to-last, a cobalt ballgown with scallop embroidery that featured the classic Pamella Roland full skirt and fitted bodice that remains beloved by those in Hollywood’s spotlight.

On the label’s 20th birthday, Roland reiterated to us her perception of evening wear for women — teasing, delicious, all while unflinchingly elegant.

“I invite you to continue this odyssey with me, share your stories of inspiration and grow our community of emboldened women,” she encouraged her audience.

Four people walk down the runway holding hands, they are all dressed in black.
(Yvonne Song for WSN)

Contact Linsey Liao at [email protected]