WASHINGTON, D.C – During this year’s DC Fashion Week, the Haitian embassy showcased Haitian-American fashion designers’ collection lines for their first “Diplomacy by Design” event. Four renowned designers of Haitian descent, Prajjé Oscar Jean-Baptiste,Kerby Jean-Raymond, Victor Glemaud and Azède Jean-Pierre, used the occasion to illustrate their creative talent to a diverse audience of dignitaries and fashion insiders.
The first of its kind, the event aimed to provide a window into some of Haiti’s finest couture and overall beauty. As models strutted their way through the opulent grand ballroom of the Haitian embassy, a crowd of onlookers admired the individual styles and techniques of the night’s fashionistas.
Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Paul Altidor, who has been on a mission to show a different side of his country since President Donald Trump’s disparaging comments, used this event to once again put Haiti on the center stage.
“Most of the world has a singular view of our country that we are looking to reshape,” he said. “By showcasing our art and culture through events like these, most notable our fashion design talent, we are changing the narrative with artistry, innovation, and glamour.”
Glemaud, a fashion industry veteran, opened the show with his colorful knitwear line. Prior to launching his own label, Glemaud worked in New York and Paris for popular fashion houses like Versace, Marc Jacobs, and Helmut Lang.
Jean-Baptiste, a New York-based womenswear designer introduced his “EZILI” collection, named after the Vodou goddess of love and beauty, and handmade by Haitian artisan women. He uses original prints “Maitresse,” embroidery and beading for his designs.
Independent womenswear designer Jean-Pierre, known for dressing former First Lady Michelle Obama, exhibited her personal line in a special display room. Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, whose politically-charged runway shows have taken social issues to the forefront of the fashion industry also displayed his signature line.
Altidor’s latest affair brought out some of D.C.’s biggest names like former D.C. First lady Michelle Cross-Fenty, NFL star Pierre Garcon, and Miss Black America’s Brittany Lewis. Also in attendance was two-time former welterweight world champion Andre Berto, and the first Haitian-American appointed to municipal court in New Jersey, Judge Sibby Elias. For one glamorous night in the nation’s capital, Haiti was once again the talk of the town.