Fashion Week 2012
During the weekend of November 8th-11th, The Republic of Haiti hosted its inaugural Fashion Week. The event was sponsored by the European Union. The show was coordinated with the help of several organizations, including the Haitian Support Center for the Promotion of Enterprise, Haitian Network of Designers, and the Ministry of Culture. Fashion Week featured local Haitian boutique owners and worldwide style icons. People all over the world, from the Dominican Republic to Japan, flocked to Port Au Prince to see 36 amazing, talented designers showcase their upcoming collections.
Because the climate in Haiti is perpetually mild and warm, the apparel lines consisted primarily of tropical resort-wear. I was impressed by the intricate, artisan swimsuits, floral sun hats, and breezy, light layers. In general, bright prints, tribal accents, and sheer overlays were the primary styling themes throughout the clothing.
Floral and safari graphics are mixed together in Milliance’s simple, yet beautiful outfit.
Giovanna Menard’s establishes a connection with nature, through earth-toned accessories and animal-printed fabrics.
According to Dominican-Republic designer Socrates McKinney, “Haiti has a very strong culture, and that in some sense has to be reflected in the fashion.” The Haitian designers went above and beyond with incorporating heritage and history in their clothes. The garments definitely portray the current social, cultural, and economic landscapes of Haiti – in fact, some intricate outfits were literally superimposed with two-dimensional, still-life works.
This dress by Verona, a native Haitian designer, reflects a scene from the Haitian War of Independence, an important part of Haiti’s history. Verona displays reverence for Toussaint Louverture, Dessalines, Henry Cristophe, and Alexander Petion – the Founding Fathers of Haiti.
The soldier’s clothing on the dress resembles the military fashion of the era. The jacket, top-hat, and fitted white pants were, like most armies’ attire at the time, inspired from the infamous uniforms of the British Redcoats.
Although the Caribbean-themed clothing was highly emulated, the evening wear truly spotlighted the Haitian designers’ artistic talents. Each individual garment was stunning in its own, indescribable way. However, I was especially fascinated by the show’s gradual day-to-night style shift throughout. The same islander themes, color palettes, and graphics were still used as the clothing slowly transitioned to black-tie apparel. The summery, tribal maxi-dresses were now embellished with sequins and beads. Designers began accenting their creations with bolder and flashier accessories.
Notice Maelle David’s s subtle style transformation. She incorporated a funky, geometric theme in her elegant white gown. The ribboned fedora and loose, asymmetrical, yet sleek jacket help establish a more glamorous tone throughout the outfit.
The blazer-and-pencil-skirt combination is popular in our corporate-world today. Sibylle Denis Touat mixed the business-casual and cocktail-affair looks together in a truly unique way. A bright, fitted blazer is layered on top of a ruffled black dress. Touat topped the outfit off with sparkling, bold accessories.
Sibylle Denis Touat:
I really like how the hibiscus, Haiti’s national flower, is patterned throughout the overlay in Miko Guillaume’s beautiful maxi-dress.
The Republic of Haiti is still reeling from the effects of its devastating earthquake, and many designers struggle to broaden their businesses locally. As David Andre stated, “The clientele I have (in Haiti) is very, very small, so that’s why I have to work much harder overseas.” The apparel industry received a good deal of international publicity with the help of renowned Haitian designers, such as Michel Chatigne, Patrick and Fabrice Tardieu (founders of Bogosse), and Hassan Pierre. Furthermore, visitors from around the world now understand more about the Haitian culture, history, and the entire country as a whole.
Overall, Fashion Week was highly successful. The entire nation worked together to take large steps in both the global fashion world and in improving the nation’s infrastructure. The Republic of Haiti was able to increase awareness in designers in several countries. Through Fashion Week, the designers spread a common goal: to make a charitable impact in their nation through fashion. Although the native designers may have different ideas and styles and work independently from each other, coming together for such a wide-scale, international event gave them all a great sense of Haitian pride and national unity. As David Andre said, “It was such a great, great experience to have Haitian designers all on the same runway.”
For more information on Haiti Fashion Week or need some advice regarding styling, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be posting some of your questions in a Q & A feature soon! (If you would like your name to be kept anonymous, or would prefer not to have your question published, that is fine. Just specify this in your email.)
Until next time,