Haiti Fashion Week 2013

IMG_6520On Wednesday evening, a red carpet greeted international guests, media, and a fashion savvy crowd for the opening gala of the second edition of Haiti Fashion Week with the theme “Mod’ifions notre environment”. After the usual long welcoming speeches, Haitian singer Luck Mervil opened the show with an interpretation of je t’aimais, je t’aime et je t’aimerai while stilt walkers dispersed throughout the crowd. Soon after, we assisted what was really an extravaganza show in which our Haitian designers each presented their muse in an eco-friendly costume made with cereals, corn, natural flowers, goat skin and all kinds of junk recycling.

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Day 1: “Beach and Sun”

It is Thursday evening at the Karibe Hotel, and as expected, the show is running late. Designers, stylists and makeup artists are finishing their last minute touch up on the models. At 8:45, the theme song of Haiti Fashion Week silences the anxious public while young girls wearing Jacqueline Francis’ creation open the show.

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Throughout the rest of the evening, we saw the clothing and accessory lines of designers Jean Yves Marchand, Gaelle Nerette, Farah Pierre Louis, Tamara Depestre, Cora Sajous, Melissa Etienne, Nora David and Daphne Floreal.

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Day 2: “Casual”

Friday nigh at the Karibe Convention Center, all models, (international and local) are wearing wigs from Bijoux Hair. At 8:30 PM, they walk down the white catwalk modeling the casual wear creations of designers such as: Grégory Vorbe and his t-shirts displaying creole messages; Harry Lafond, Sonia Noël, Watson Saint Louis, Malou Cadet, Michaelle Baussan, Irilene Geffrard, Marie Therese Fouchard, Daphne Stephenson, Gerry Romain, Christelle Paul, and Verona School of Fashion.

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Day 3: “Evening and Cocktail”

Finally the last and most anticipated day has arrived. Since 7:30 a long line is being formed by impatient guests waiting to go inside. Finally at 8, the doors open and the seats are quickly taken.

Opening the show is Dominican designer Jenny Polanco with her white cotton and linen collection. Following her were Haitian designers: Madeline Ledan, Mario Andresol, Musset payant, Miko Guillaume, Maelle David, Maguy Durcé, Phelicia Fell, Michel Chataigne, Creations Dorées’ accessories, Oberti luxury eye wear from Argentina, and Esther Joseph from Saint Lucia.

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Most designers received applauds and stand ups from the pubic but only two designers left the public in awe. Fauvette Nartco from Paris surprised us with an impressive exhibition of urban chic menswear. As the lights turned off, about a dozen of male models aligned themselves on the catwalk and one by one advanced the catwalk. To end the night, Haitian-Canadian designer Helmer Joseph made a tribute to the Holy Mary with a lace short piece and Ave Maria playing as soundtrack. In addition, his collection included bold colors and geometric prints with a captivating black final piece.

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Although the overall organization of this year’s event surpassed that of last year’s, many issues need to be taken into more serious consideration. A lack of professionalism in the modeling was somewhat evident as models struggled to find the right rhythm and timing regarding their runway walk. In addition, presenting twelve designers per night is too much. A more strict selection on the participation of the designers should be enforced.  Some designers fail to incorporate the aesthetics to their designer’s collection while others remain limited with their choice of fabric and textiles due to the limited resources available to them.

Granted, some designers have shown merit, but some still lack the originality and competence to partake in this event, and are therefore clouding the little good that results. I believe a show with less designers would create more opportunity for our already talented designers to shine even more

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Down the aisle Fashion

Wedding march, white roses and lights, that special White Dress …

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It was all there, the decor, the setting, the music, the entertainment, the loved ones … a dream wedding. Perfection from beginning to end.

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SHE walked down the aisle and wow-ed everyone with her gorgeous Vera Wang mermaid style gown in organza.

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Fashionable guests:

photoThe Maid of Honor was stunning in her sheer top embellished with black flowers with a black slit skirt. Her hair was pinned with a black pearl and crystal head piece with soft waves falling down to the side of her face and wore black Louboutin pumps.

imageAbsolutely gorgeous was the mother of the Groom in this light gold lace straight dress with a boat collar.

imageRaya had a stunning mint green strapless mermaid gown with crystal beaded waist belt.

IMAGE_1Black long sleeve sequin dress with open back, ankle strap sandals and a touche of pink on the lips.

image_3Short bell shaped dress in hot pink. Veronica styled her hair in a hump slit back pony tail. She added a bold metallic necklace to her outfit and chose strap sandals with animal prints.

Also spotted:

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Bea in a sweetheart neckline beaded dress in silver.

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Abir wearing a flowy red dress with an open front, a sheer back with a low U-shaped draping.

image_2Left: Deep V top with black belittlement, a beaded belt at the waist, and veil slit skirt. Designed and made by me and mother. (see end of post)
Center: Bianka wearing a gorgeous strapless embellished with silver stones, finishing with a beige veil and a mid-thigh slit.
Right: Melissa in a long sleeve dark blue dress with a sexy cut in the front and back. Made by a Haitian designer (see end of post)

image_1Ladies in back and red

Accessories: Ankle strap sandals, Bold necklace, Millinery hat …

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Some guests had their dresses made by Haitian designers:

photoDoris in a Mejeanne Couture (Christelle Dominique) red halter dress.

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Dark blue long sleeve dress slightly cut open in the front, with an opening in the back as well. Made by Djenane Desrouleaux.

In my case, my mother and I took on the challenge of making my “Geisha style dress” as I like to call it.

I had so much fun and STRESS working on it that I had to leave you with a few pictures! Hope you enjoy them!

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Working on the pattern and lining …

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The details on the top: Embellished with flower designed that were hand glued to the top right of the dress, and back lace sown around the V cut all the way to the back of the neck.

image_2End result:

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Haiti Fashion Week 2012

Event: Haiti Fashion Week 2012.

Location: Karibe hotel.

Purpose: Stimulate and showcase the Fashion World of Haiti.

For the first time in history, Haiti proudly introduced its first Fashion Week from November 8 to November 11, where thirty designers showcased their collections. Also known as “ModAyiti 2012” in creole, this special event was created by the Haitian Center for Support and Promotion of Enterprises (CHAPES) and the Haitian Network of Designers (HAND), two associations working to develop the Haitian Fashion Industry. Funded by the Ministry of Culture and the European Union’s support program ARCADES, this event gave our local designers a chance to be noticed by the international eye thanks to the presence of international designers, guests and press.

Decor & Set-up

As we entered the Karibe Convention Center we were immediately transported into another atmosphere: Elaborate white draping covered the ceiling and walls, and white chairs were laid out to align the also white catwalk.
Ushers greeted us at the door and brought us to our seats while the pleasant beat of the Haiti Fashion Week 2012 theme song played in the background.

The Event

The program of Haiti Fashion Week 2012 included a forum during the day on the development of fashion in Haiti, and an exposition of items for sell by the designers after each show. The opening ceremony last Thursday was a welcoming celebration for the designers and the organizers of this event with a tribute and homage to the Haitian culture and history. The celebration ended last Sunday with a Haitian folkloric dance with colorful costumes.

Scheduled to start at 7 PM, it was not a surprise to see the shows start an hour late while the public preferred to mingle in the courtyard with drinks and cocktails. An intermission of 15 minutes took place each day, and the shows were a little too long lasting almost 3 hours. It is Fashion after all, and Fashion is fast paced.

Designers

Top Left: Marie Thérèse Hilaire. Bottom Left: David André. Center: Michel Chataigne. Top Right: Watson St-Louis. Bottom Right: Marjorie Alexis

We saw it all: beach attire, casual look, suits, cocktail and evening dresses. More than 2 dozen designers took part in this show to exhibit their creations. Native names such as David André, Michel Chataigne, Maelle David, Marie Thérèse Hilaire, Miko Guillaume, Marjorie Alexis (to name a few) shared the runway with international designers coming from the Caribbean, USA, Argentina and Japan.

Daniel Oberti Glasses Collection – Argentina

Culture and heritage are at the heart of every designer in Haiti and are proudly reflected through their collections. However, it seems that the focus on culture was taken too seriously. We believe that more initiative and risk should be taken by our designers in order to push the envelope when it comes to the individuality, cohesiveness and aesthetic of their designs.

Left: Garment painted with Haiti’s geographical departments by the students of Verona Fashion school. Center: Folkloric garment in Haiti’s colors by Harry Lafond. Top and Bottom right: Works of Jacqueline Francis.

Our island is known for its beautiful craftsmanship thus making accessories our forté. Models carried the works of many jewelry, bags, and sandal designers like Phelicia Dell (vèvè bags), Créations Dorées, Gerry Romain, Savannah Savary …

Top Left: Men necklace by Gerry Romain. Bottom Left: bag by Sibylle Denis Touat. Center: Accessories by Gerry Romain. Left: Vèvè bags by Phelica Dell

The project beyond ModAyiti goes as far as creating an atelier for our local designers and hopefully opening a store in New York selling Haitian products and clothing. The world of fashion is no longer dormant in Ayiti, and this project led by Maguy Durcé marked its awakening.

Giovanna Ménard
Prisca Milliance

Modeling

Nearly 30 models carried the designers’ collections down the runway 10 of which were international. While some were too fast, others like international Haitian model Nayeli Fanfan among others (see below pictures) made their way down the runway with the perfect modeling grace and attitude. Reigning miss Haiti International Anédie Azael brieftly joined the modeling team.

                           

Male models appeared shirtless and some with paintings on their faces to showcase some designers jewelry collections.

                                

A group of 20 Haitian and 10 international models, stylists and makeup artist were part of the team that made Haiti Fashion Week possible.
A fashionable public

Who would have thought that a country who has suffered so much from recent natural disasters would one day hold it’s very own Fashion Week? Surely a lot of work needs to be done but thanks to ModAyiti and its team, we hope to make this event an annual rendez-vous.

Last Week’s Favorite

Twenty-2 jewelry designer Coraline Bennett Acra was spotted wearing a vintage skeleton T-shirt with basic satin cream trousers. For accessories, the Fashionista opted for a Chanel quilted bag, Tod’s navy blue sandals and was wearing her own creation of sea green necklace with a gold chain.

Her sense of fashion is not only reflected in her outfit, but in that of her adorable son Reza. He wore a plain white Tee, 7 Jeans and red Tod’s Gommino Suede Driving Moccasins.

New shops at Royal Oasis

Royal Oasis, the most anticipated project in Pétion-Ville this year, opened its doors on Friday September 14, 2012. After over two years of reconstruction, a selection of seven stores opened their doors to the public, offering potential clients delectable Kir Royals and tasty hors-d’oeuvres.

On the opening day, we were not able to thoroughly tour the stores because of a rather large crowd, so we decided to go back after a few days. The site is gorgeous and very welcoming. On the first floor, you’ll find Ibiza and Karma, two stores carrying clothing lines respectively for men and women, and Le Boudoir showcasing their assortment of accessories. You will also find Edge, an electronics store and Caprices Events, a “one-stop”, full-service event planning store. Gallerie Marassa, an art gallery featuring contemporary Haitian art and Atelier Canush, a well-stocked furniture store that promises to satisfy a variety of tastes and styles, are located on the second floor.

In a luxurious fashion, Ibiza offers impressive articles of clothing for men. Being the representative of the Green, Orange and Black Lines of Hugo Boss, its set-up mirrors that of a classic Hugo Boss store. But the appeal of the store does not end there. What makes it more unique and captivating is that it also represents the Bogosse Line from Haitian designers Patrick and Fabrice Tardieu. From jeans and casuals, to stylish shirts and suits, you will find an impressive variety of clothing for men including swim wear. Also available at Ibiza is a selective line from Diesel.

            

No one does it better than Priya Saint-Rémy when it comes to fashion merchandising and the opening of her 4th store “Karma” proves it. Her merchandise ranges from cool, casual tops to elegant cocktail attire. Karma truly does have a selection for different occasions and styles. Jean Paul Ataker, Collective Concepts, Lauren G Adams and Kelsi Dagger are also exclusively sold at Karma. You will also find fine 18kt gold and semi-precious jewelry.                 

                

The talented handbag designer, Francoise Elizée, opened her fashion boutique Le Boudoir, carrying a selection of beauty and personal care items, such as fragrance body lotions and bath items, as well as a section of Black Up make-up. Browsing through her store, we noticed a colorful collection of Anick Vorbe’s Tunics, Gucci, Emporio-Armani and Carrera sunglasses, Fossil and DKNY watches, and a variety of accessories, including fantasy jewelry and evening clutches. Of course we cannot forget Françoise Elizée’s own line of exotic crocodile, python & ostrich skin handbags which are exposed on the right side of the store.


      

The opening of Royal Oasis, and particularly the opening of its clothing stores, will help in increasing the clothing options we have available in Haiti. It gives consumers a wider variety of choices when it comes to shopping (and let’s face it, we need it). Also, instead of buying clothes abroad, we can shop in Haiti. In doing so, not only do we support the store owners, but we stimulate the economy and make Haiti a better place to live. We would like to formally congratulate Royal Oasis, Ibiza, Karma, and Le Boudoir on a fantastic opening and would like to wish them nothing but the best in the future.