This feature appears in V139 Supermodel, Superhero issue. It is now available for sale.
For his Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection, Victor Glemaud held his showing at Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace at Rockefeller Center. Finding inspiration from what he calls the “Titans” of American design, such as Donna Karan and Bill Blass, Glemaud created a collection full of modern and effortless sportswear designs. Glemaud used a simple color palette of black, powder pink and white with a bold leopard print pattern. Glemaud’s designs are no-nonsense, he doesn’t need to rely on kitsch in order to grab attention in the New York fashion scene.
Glemaud is a master of knitwear and has experimented with it to the point that it can be mistaken for a garment made from a sewing machine. V sat down with Glemaud to discuss his SS23 collection.
You can read the exclusive interview below.
V MAGAZINE: First, I want to congratulate your beautiful show.
VICTOR GLEEMAUD: We are so grateful.
V: Could you please walk us through some points of inspiration, and show us where you got your inspiration?
VG: It was actually quite interesting. My husband and I went to Harbor Island, which was the first time we had been there since the pandemic. It was amazing. It was beautiful. It was really moving to return to the island and witness its arrival by boat. It was that island that inspired the collection’s color scheme. In terms of proportions and silhouettes, we looked at a lot American sportswear.—What do I call it?—”Titan designers” at the museum at FIT like Giorgio Sant’Angelo, Stephen Burrows, Bill Blass, and Donna Karan. While we were only taking information from them, we could touch the garments at the museum, and we could feel their weight. It was amazing to be able see the clothes that I’ve seen on pictures and in books up close. So those were my main inspirations. Also, the idea of what knitwear looks like today is what I am always thinking about.
V: These points of inspiration will be evident as you view the collection.
VG: I do hope so!
V: Could you also talk about the design process? How was the creation process for you?
VG: Last fall, and this season, we expanded our collection by adding these ponte dresses, matte jersey and scuba fabric. For me, it’s about the exploration of how I can combine these new fabrics and our knitwear offerings to make it all feel cohesive. I work hard to make it a cohesive collection. You’ll be asking yourself, “Oh, is that a fully fashioned sweater or a sewn gown?” It’s a challenge for me to play with these materials and make it feel like one. That juxtaposition is what I love. Is it possible for others to see the difference? That’s how we see it. It’s always a reaction to the previous season, or a continuation of what was before. The last three collections we have shown on the runway since lockdown feel modernist to me. In terms of pattern mixing and color, it’s minimalist, if I may say so. It was and remains very intentional. It is a wonderful idea to be creative in design but also have people understand the concept and see it on a runway. This is an interesting challenge, which I am really enjoying.
V: The show’s location was fantastic, I thought. This was probably one of my favourite locations for New York Fashion Week. Why did you choose this spot and how does it relate to the larger theme of the collection or the brand ethos?
VG: You must have tapped all of these things. The clothes, me, the brand, it’s all joy, New York, history, and this idea for inclusion. Most of the runway shows that we have done were in public places. This is very intentional. Mixing my friends, family, and fashion family is something I enjoy. They have been friends for many years. They have been friends for years. I took that spirit and turned it into these shows. It’s not a distant idea of a show or part of fashion week that people don’t have access to. Flipper’s at Rockefeller Center really is the best example of that. We were able to display outside on a gorgeous Saturday in a fashion show that felt pre-pandemic.
It was bustling with activity. It was back to school and many things were happening simultaneously. I felt that this season was the culmination of the two previous shows. From the collection to clothes to incorporating my home partner with Schumacher to our eyewear partnership with Tura, to the clothing to the clothes. The show allowed us to present the world we have built over the past couple of years in one place to both the invited audience and to those who just happened to be passing by.
People who were there at the show were also present during rehearsals. That speaks volumes for New York Fashion Week, and fashion in general. It is something people want to see, and they want to know more. I hope that the way we present and continue to display our collections will allow us to reach a wider audience.
V: It’s all about history. It’s not about creating a space that is exclusive, it’s about making sure everyone has access. Please tell me about your life in New York, and what you think is the most important thing that has influenced your brand.
VG: Yes, they do. I’m a New Yorker. I am impatient and don’t know how I can drive. I grew up Queens and began coming to Queens on my own as a middle-schooler. I attended events. [outings]Museums with my parents. the idea of Rockefeller Center, which is something that I’ve been working on securing since March of this year…
V: Wow. This has been so long in the making.
VG: Yes. It was a natural choice and I feel privileged to have worked in fashion since the age of 19, when I went to FIT to study fashion. When I was an intern, Patrick Robinson became my design assistant. He is my greatest fashion influence, best friend, mentor, big brother and all-around great guy. The collections and shows are my personal story. It has been a pleasure to be able to tell the story. It was imagery and presentations that were the main focus. Now, it’s clothes on great people and we create a story from them.
However, moving makes it seem larger. It has allowed me more personalization, which I enjoy. It makes a better collection. Some people want to know more about me. These shows let me tell a story about my life and connect it to where I was born, where I grew up, and who my influences were. It’s not just a gesture, nod, or gesture. But it’s all there. Even if we are choosing which day to show it, I prefer a Saturday show because I can bring my family and friends. It’s more like if you were to come to my home for dinner, than if you were to show at 9:30AM on Wednesday.
V: That is a great idea. You touched on it briefly, but I want to get into the world of New York Fashion Week. It feels like there has been so much change over the past years. It’s clear that things have changed. We’re seeing more designers from color and more people challenging the established fashion norms in New York. So, I want to hear your thoughts on this. I think you have created such a community within your brand, from your staff members to the people who wear the clothes. It’s more than a brand, it’s more than a fashion house…I feel like it is a community. So, I would like to know your thoughts on New York Fashion Week’s landscape and the current designers in the area.
VG: First of all, thank you so much for your comment and taking the time to notice that. It’s part and parcel of the brand. Brands that are true to their beliefs are gaining recognition in New York Fashion Week. It’s very important. Although I believe this is the beginning of it, it is not yet complete. It’s clear that New York City and the other fashion capitals have a lot of work ahead of them, but this is the beginning.
Designers truly look out for each other, and I view them as a support network. I have never seen that before in the couple of decades that I’ve worked in fashion. It is a sense of comradery that the pandemic, lockdown helped us create. Black designers are able to support one another even though they do different things when it comes to designing of color. At the end of fashion week, I was at a dinner and sat next to Sergio Hudson. Laquan Smith was also there. We chatted, laughed, talked business, and complained. It was a simple, but gratifying, conversation. It is essential to our growth that we have a support system.
It doesn’t matter if you are an emerging brand or a established one, there is tremendous support for each other. I am happy to advise and direct others on what is happening and how I feel things should be. It’s important for New York Fashion Week, the industry as a whole, and what we all want to achieve, which is to build long-term businesses.