On 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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