Miss Universe Haiti 2016: Raquel Pelissier

25 years old, 5ft9, a degree in optometry, and a charming smile, Raquel Pelissier is our new Miss Universe Haiti 2016.


Born and raised in Haiti, Raquel is passionate about aerial skills (acrobatics hanging from a fabric), she practices cross fit regularly, and enjoys cooking and reading on her free time. She is currently finishing her master’s degree in scientific research, her love for Haiti pushed her to apply for  the Miss Haiti pageant to accomplish her life long dream of being able to represent her country and will do so at the Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines in January.

10 questions with Miss Universe Haiti 2016

What incited you to apply for miss haiti ?
I chose to apply for the Miss Haiti pageant because I wanted to represent my country. I realized that Haiti is the foundation of the woman I am today. I am Haiti. Winning a crown is my way of giving back to the land that bore me since it gives me the opportunity to expose its colors and culture abroad. I want to change the way the rest of the world sees us and make a good impact.


Who inspires you?
I am truly inspired by an author who fights for protocol and values in the Haitian society. Her name is Galy and I have the honor to be her daughter. I admire her so much that I want to continue what she started and pass on everything she had thought me for a better education in the society.


What are some challenges you encountered during the pageant?
One of the challenges I encountered in the pageant was, having to be on my heels sometimes at 5 am and looking pretty. Those moments were truly those which made me realized not only that my goal was not easy but also that I was determined enough to make sacrifices to reach it.

Another challenge is to always be ready. Most of the time when they were filming us, we only had one shot so we had to make sure to give our best.



What are some of the best moments you shared during the competition?
My two favorite moments were the first and last day of the pageant. The first day because it was a day full of excitement during which I met all the candidates that have been selected for the competition and the last day because it was the day I realized that participating in Miss Haiti 2016 was the best choice I have ever made.


How was/is your diet as a miss haiti contestant? Any diet or fitness tips  you can share with us?
I wouldn’t say I’m on a diet I have just adopted a lifestyle about four years which consists of eating healthy and working out around 8-9 hours a week. However, now that I am going to compete internationally I have to go on a strict diet and add more cardio to my routine so as to lose a few more pounds. My tip is to always be aware of what you are putting into your system. Read or do your research because nothing is more valuable than health.


How were your relationship with the other contestant?
During the pageant, I got along pretty well with all the contestants. I am truly grateful to have met all these dedicated and strong women with a great vision and love for the country. I never felt like I was competing against them. My only competitor has always been myself.


Have you felt at some point of the competition that someone else might win?
When I applied for Miss Haiti, I was aiming the Miss Universe Crown. I knew I fit the international standards to represent Haiti in this pageant since Miss Universe is about being confidently beautiful, elegant and classy. Even though, I never felt threatened by anyone, I had recognized the strong contestants of the pageant and I have learned a lot from them which gave me a stronger reason to focus and do my best at all times.


As a contestant, what are your thoughts on the miss haiti organization? And what do you think can be done in order to improve the organization and the process?
I personally think that the Miss Haiti Organization did an amazing job. It is tough work handling 20 young women. Behind the scenes, there was good energy and team spirit but also moments of tears and tension and they always kept things in order at all times so they really deserve the credit for that. For improvement, I would propose to add to the agenda more hours public speaking, protocol classes and runway so as to make a greater impact.


What’s next for you as miss universe haiti? When and where will you go to the miss universe competition?
I will represent Haiti in the 65th edition of Miss Universe in Philippines in January. Before that, I am also going to Bolivia to represent Haiti in Reina hispanoamericana in November.


What can we expect from you as miss universe haiti? Any special project or vision you can share with us ?
My project for Haiti consists of teaching the youth manners and values. I also want to fight for community service to be included at school so that everyone can contribute for a cleaner and better Haiti.

 

Miami Swim Week 2017

From left to right: Luli Fama, Maaji, Luli Fama

All eyes were on South Florida last week as Miami held it’s annual Swim Week. Press, bloggers, buyers and fashionistas, crowded the streets of Miami Beach as they made their ways to runway shows, trade fairs, pop-up shops and parties, that were all centered around swimsuits.

Siniesa Karol show at the Setai. Photo by Saint-Cyr Studio

This year I got to attend fashion shows and events from Funkshion for the first time, and the island girl in me was beyond excited to see what the designers have in stores for us in 2017. Yes, these bathing suits will not hit the stores until next year. If you were following fashionayiti on Snapchat and Instagram, you already had a little preview of the fashion shows I attended which are: Beach Riot, Blue Life, Kai Lani, Ana Kosturova, Maaji, Monica Hansen Beachwear etc… to name a few.

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With 2 Haitian models participating at Funkshion Swim Week.

So, recapping Miami Swim Week in general, here are 8 of the hottest trends that we will see in swimsuits next year:

  • Plunging One Piece
    One piece suits are here to stay and this time the more revealing the better!
From left to right: Beach Riot, Aguaclara, Blue Life
  • Halter Bikinis
    A less conservative halter tops were a favorite on the runways. Designers added a risqué side to the halter tops with creative and sheer cuts.
From left to right: Luli Fama, Kai Lani, Tori Praver
  • Creative Cut-Outs
    Designers went the extra mile to give us more creative designs with fun and slick cut-outs on both one pieces and bikinis.
From left to right: OMG Miami Swimwear, Luli Fama, Magic City Swimwear
  • Wrap Around Tops
    This season designers played around with the basic triangle bikini top giving it a little “extra” with intricate ties and wraps on bikinis tops, bottoms, and one pieces.
From left to right: Versakini x Amanda Perna, Luli Fama, Kai Lani
  • Bold Prints
    Florals, tribal and ethnic prints, stripes and colors were not scarce on the runway.
From left to right: Luli Fama, Beach Riot, Laundry by Shello Segal
  • Tassels
    This swinging and playful accent adorned some bathing suits and ever cover-ups, creating a hippie vibe for the boho girl.
From left to right: Ana Kosturova, Maaji, Ana Kosturova
  • Straps
    Straps were everywhere on the runways evoking a playful sensation.
From left to right: Blue Life, Luli Fama, Magic City Swimwear
  • Creative Coverups
    Because a beach attire is never complete without a fun cover-up!
From left to right: Luli Fama, Blue Life, Ana Kosturova
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Finale at Maaji, photo by Maaji Swimwear

Do you have your eyes on your next bathing suit purchase yet? Let us know which bathing suit you must have for next year!

All pictures were courtesy of Saint-Cyr Studio unless stated otherwise.

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With some of the Haitian community in the fashion industry in Miami, at the Swim Week kickoff party at the W.

Item of the Week: Long Denim Jacket

This week item of the week is the Zara long denim jacket.

 Denim has been a favorite trend for quite some time now. Most stores even have a denim section with items such as shirts, jackets, skirts, overalls etc…

I found this long denim jacket from Zara’s I am Denim collection. Long sleeves, ripped details, and side pockets, this jacket can be worn as a dress alone or over different outfit as a jacket.


 Scroll below for different looks:




Picture credit: Verdy Verna
Location: Fort-Jacques, Haiti

Item of the Week: House of Emmanuele Jewelry

Forget less is more. This summer, when it comes to accessories more is more and bigger is better with House of Emmanuele jewelry.

Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I can’t help but stop and stare at how glamorous and regal the jewelry looks. House of Emmanuele evokes a story of pure fantasy and mythology with it’s glamazonian necklaces, gladiator crystal gloves and footcuffs, chokers, earcuffs, head and body jewelry. Handmade in Australia, they are designed with precision and elaboration with oversized Swarovski crystals.


Created in 2003 by designer Emmanuele Tsakiris, House of Emmanuele has graced covers and editorials of magazines such as Vogue, Harpers Bazzar, Grazia, Cleo, OK and InStyle to name a few. His Celebrity following includes Beyonce, Rihanna, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Madonna, Fergie and Amra Olevic.


  
GLAM UP!

Item of the Week: Pom-Pom Sandals

Pom-poms seem to be everywhere this year and are the perfect add-on quirkiness to most accessories: keychains, totes, wallets, backpacks etc.. This summer, we are seeing these playful pom-poms on Sandals, both heels and flats, and are the perfect complement to a summer’s outfit.

From sandals, to heels, to even lace ups, it is no wonder that this vacation-ready trend is one of the hottest this summer.

 Aquazzura’s Pom Pom 105 Sandals are a favorite amongst Karueche and Rihanna



Model Amanda Vanderziel in playful flats from Greek shoe designer Elina Linardaki

Item of the week: The Bandana

This week’s item must have is the western inspired accessory known as the bandana.

Worn around the neck, or as a headband to pull back your hair, this 90’s go-to accessory is making a major comeback (like most 90s trends these days).


  

Celebs and bloggers have been spotted rocking this extra, making it the hottest accessory at coachella and a street style favorite!

Ashley Benson and Shay Mitchell

Caroline Receveur

Danielle Bernstein from We Wore What


Poze Brand’s 4th Collection

Based in Miami, but inspired by Haitian culture, Poze brand is a Haitian street wear brand for both men and women. The word “Poze” meaning “chill” or “relaxed” in Creole, is heard in most conversations between Haitians. The brand, founded in 2014 by Jeff Appolon, prides itself in teaching the world about Haitians, one word, one picture, and one story at a time. So far 3 collections have been released and the 4th one is forthcoming.

Check out our interview with Mr. “Poze” himself, where he discusses his latest collection.

Tell me about your new collection and what was the inspiration behind it.
• This collection follows up on the previous one which pushes the boundaries further. I want this collection to be engaging to the mind and also laid back. Half of the pieces in the 4th collection visit our rich history and capture moments of glory. As a country, we’ve taken so many L’s in the past that we forget that we were once great.

 
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How does the collection reflect your Haitian background?
• One of the shirt is inspired by the current success of our Haitian national soccer team. I mean, we haven’t won any world cup but we are doing better now. The shirt I’m referring to shows the picture of Haitian soccer Legend Manno Sanon as he scored the famous goal against Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff during the 1974 world cup match Vs Italy. That goal ended Dino Zoff’s long standing 1142 minutes without getting scored on. After I read about it, I thought that it was important to celebrate that moment and glorify him.

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• Another shirt I have is a drawing of the statue of Marie Louise Coidavid, who was Henry Christophe’s wife. I visited the Palais Sans Soucis a couple of years ago and I remember seeing the statue. I remember how proud it made me feel. Somehow I feel that it’s the same feeling that a diaspora gets when they first visit Haiti. Even though only the ruins are left, it shows greatness once existed in our country. I feel like back then, our ancestors were a bit more courageous than us because they did more with less.

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When and where can one purchase the new collection? Will it be available in stores in Haiti?
• Yes it will be available in Haiti. I had the perfect store to sell, but unfortunately with the economic instability, the store had to close down. I am looking at some other places to carry it in PV. More information will be provided soon. Everything should be available beginning of June.

 
How does the brand Poze reflect your personal style?
• I tend to be more on the conservative side, so my designs will be a bit minimalist. I don’t really like loud colors and too much going on in a t-shirt. I usually go for neutral designs that you can wear when you’re out. But every now and then, I’ll collaborate with someone who may have a different taste than me. I try to have the designs balanced. I’ll take suggestions from my friends and see what they prefer. After all Poze is not my personal brand, it’s the people’s brand.

 
Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
• I try to keep up with the current trends and add a bit of Haitian mix to it. I’ll be on fashion blogs all day and Instagram when I have some free time. If I see something that catches my eye at the mall, I put a note on my phone. Basically my whole environment.

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Is there someone from the fashion world that inspires you?
• I’m a big Kanye West fan. A lot of times I like his style but other times I feel like he pushes the boundaries but then again that is what fashion is all about. I like his style better when he’s rocking the tall tees, ripped fitted denims and yeezys. I also like Big Sean’s style, he’s always on point.

 

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What is your personal favorite piece of the 4th collection?
• I really like the Manno Sanon t-shirt and the hat with the Poze hands. I feel like I can see those items on the shelf of an Urban Outfitters store. I like that they are Haiti related but with a touch of pop culture.

What can we expect from Poze in the near future?
• I really want to branch out to different things. I wanna go deeper into female and kids clothing but I’m a bit limited as far as man power. I want the brand to evolve and get better with time. My goal is to keep the brand alive so that one day I see it in a website like Complex, The Source or Highsnobiety as a street wear brand to watch out for.

 Fashion Ayiti, the models and Mr. Poze doing the Poze hand sign.