Fashion Designer Victor Glemaud Wants You to Know the Real Haiti

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The knitwear designer shares his plans for a summer trip to Haiti and some memories from a recent Nile cruise.

Victor Glemaud moved to New York from Haiti with his family when he was three years old. Growing up, he returned every year, and this summer he’s bringing his fiancé and a few friends. “It’s important to share my perspective of the culture, because it’s different from what you’ve read in newspapers or heard from politicians,” he says. “Haiti has this great Caribbean vibe. It’s so vibrant. But people don’t think of it that way.” The designer known for his colorful knits spoke to us about the trip he’s planning this summer and his last great vacation: a Nile cruise.

What are your favorite childhood memories of Haiti?

Watching people get ready for Carnival. Everyone makes spectacular outfits, there’s music; it’s really fun. And there’s always a lot of sour rum punch, so it gets really festive. And eating the delicious fruit: There are these dense, super sweet mangoes and tiny pineapples.

Does Haitian style inspire your work?

I’m always inspired by it. Growing up, I remember my father and my aunts and uncles always looking very put together. They have such an interesting sense of color. The way I use prints and stripes and colors comes from seeing and living with Haitian people and seeing the care they put into dressing.

What’s the plan for this trip?

My mother told me about Île-à-Vache, just off Jacmel, with the clearest blue water. We’ll stay at Abaka Bay Resort or Port Morgan. In Jacmel, we’ll use Hotel Florita as our base. I’d like to take lessons at Surf Haiti. Local kids take you out on the waves. Then we’ll do a day in Port-au-Prince—I want to check out Maxime Boutique Hotel.Any must-sees for first-timers?

I can’t wait to show everyone the Citadel, an early 19th-century fortress, and the ruins of the Sans-Souci palace, which was the home of the king during the same time and used to be one of the most incredible buildings in the Caribbean. They’re both in the north, in the mountains. They’re magnificent.

Dishes you can’t miss?

Fresh fish, djon djon black mushroom rice, and pork griot, which are like yummy fried pork bites. When I host dinner parties at home in New York, I’ll pick up plates of everything at Le Soleil, a Haitian restaurant in Midtown. My friends love it.

Where else have you been lately?

My fiancé and I planned a last minute trip to Egypt to celebrate my birthday. We started in Cairo and split our time between the Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton, then took a four-night trip down the Nile on the Sanctuary Sun IV. It was truly magical. I loved seeing the pyramid in Saqqara and the temple of Isis on Philae.

What was the boat like?

It was a wooden boat, which I loved—I wanted a smaller boat, more cozy, a little chicer. It was never bursting at the seams with people. And we learned more about the culture and the food: the bread is fabulous wherever you go in Egypt, they have the most perfect cucumbers and beautiful tomatoes. And we got really into Egyptian wine. At first I was like, ‘Do I really want to drink Egyptian wine?’ But the bottles of white and rosé that we tried were all delicious.

Image courtesy of Victor Glameaux

 

By: Andrea Whittle for Cntraveler.com | April 3, 2018

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