Designer Victor Glemaud Returned Home to Haiti With the Clinton Foundation—And Photographed the Trip for Vogue


Going back home might crop up in every form of cultural expression—you’ve read the books, watched the movies, karaoked the songs. Yet Victor Glemaud, a 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, who’s a pretty nifty designer of inventive, colorful knits, is going to use his trip for his next presentation, currently envisaged for this coming June. Glemaud, who was born in the island’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and moved to the U.S. when he was 3 years old, visited at the invitation of the Clinton Foundation, to attend an event produced by the Haitian Action Network, an organization focused on women’s empowerment and enterprise initiatives. The opportunity came through a series of interconnected events. One minute he was showing his work to Condé Nast executive David ibnAle, before another, Gina Sanders, passed by. She noticed Glemaud was Haitian. Before long, Sanders reached out to him, and everything was set in motion.

“Local artwork decorates the streets as we make our way to our hotel in Port-au-Prince.” —Victor Glemaud

Photo: Courtesy of Victor Glemaud


“The dining room inside Quartier Latin, a phenomenal restaurant in Port-au-Prince.” —Victor Glemaud

Photo: Courtesy of Victor Glemaud

Instead, what he experienced—and who he met—were women actively engaged in their design work: leatherwork by Pascale Theard Atelier, straw designs from Paula Coles, beading by a collective called Papillon, which draws on the skills of 300 local artisans. “I was blown away by what I saw,” Glemaud says. “Without a lot of resources, they’re doing something organic that looked new to my eyes.” New enough for him to be thinking of all sorts of ways he can collaborate with them, bringing their craft together with his for his label Victor Glemaud. He’s asking Pascale Theard about doing some shoes, enlisting friend and milliner Gigi Burris to utilize Paula Coles’s straw for hats, and integrating Papillon’s beads into his macramé skirts. In its own way, all these collaborations will speak confidently to the notion that in going back one can give back, while also celebrating the dignity and talent of the people Glemaud is teaming up with.

“These women are making beads out of recycled cereal boxes at Papillon. The boxes are cut into strips then methodically rolled and glued into various shapes and sizes.” —Victor Glemaud

If it all comes to pass, Glemaud says it will make for a more “experiential” presentation, and he’s right. And it’ll be a hugely emotional one, too. While he was in Haiti, he was so busy he barely had time to process his feelings, but his return to New York allowed him the time to do just that. “I was coming back just as what was meant to be the last snowstorm of the season hit,” he says, “and the impact of what I’d just been through on my trip finally hit me. My mom said to me, ‘Your father’—my Dad passed away six years ago— ‘would be so proud of you, to go back that way.’ I returned to Haiti as an example of what an immigrant can achieve in the United States, and what I do in June will be the beginning of the culmination of that.”


“The finished beads before each is lacquered by hand.” —Victor Glemaud



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