Designer Victor Glemaud gives menswear something to smile about. By Emily Basenberg
Greeting Victor Glemaud, even at 8 a.m., reveals a lot about his namesake menswear line. The prominent glasses that frame his face along with the astutely nerdy-chic navy cardigan and Camilla Staerk lace-ups confirm—this is a guy who knows what other guys should wear. "I started the collection based on the way I like to dress," says the budding designer.
Having grown up in New York City, Glemaud was already getting his hands dirty in design before even leaving the starting gate. He began assisting fellow designer Patrick Robinson while still a student at F.I.T. Years later, he took a different course in fashion by becoming a publicist for powerhouse firm, KCD. When Robinson assumed the role of creative director at Paco Rabanne, Glemaud made the switch back, moving to Paris to assist his former mentor.
Victor Glemaud spring/summer '07 collection
In fact, it was the visionary Robinson who first encouraged the young Glemaud to shoot a series of self-portrait Polaroids for inspiration, using Glemaud's own choice of everyday clothes. The collection of images sparked the seed of a new statement in menswear, and Glemaud's own eponymous collection made its debut in Paris last July.
While the menswear category has seen flourishes of promise in recent seasons with a handful of new designers raising the runway stakes, it is Glemaud's studied use of bold color that seems particularly fresh. In fact, his palette has become the delineating treatment for his burgeoning label. "I look good in strong color so I always felt it would work for my menswear point of view, too," he says. His knit pieces are especially vivid in the contrasting hues of cardigans against vests. "Dual" is also a word that Glemaud uses when expressing his philosophy. However, his signature sweaters are actually a single piece, the ingenious reworking wool or cashmere cardigans that have been deconstructed and rebuilt to include V-neck vests. The pieces have a vintage silhouette, relaxed without feeling sloppy, with soft shoulders, long hemlines, and fullness throughout the body. "These sweaters let me play around with color without it ever being too overwhelming," he says.
Glemaud, center, with models in his spring/summer '07 collection.
Glemaud's classically tailored trousers balance the look, tempering any playfulness. When asked about the recent seasons' fetish for ultra-slim bottoms, the designer laughs, "I don't know what man wants to wear clothes that tight!"
In fact, Glemaud suggests that men can feel exceedingly fashion-forward by "simply incorporating a splash of color into their daily lives." Even better, the designer's price points are equally accessible. As he puts it, "these are figures my friends and I can afford." No surprise, Maxfield in Los Angeles snapped up his spring 2007 line, and the designer will showcase his second collection in New York in February 2007. And given the recent rise to success, Glemaud still seems prepared for just about anything. "I've seen a lot of ups and downs in fashion," he says. "Finally, I think I'm ready for my own."
Victor Glemaud menswear is available in Los Angeles at Maxfield, 8825 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood; 310-274-8800.
Portrait by Barnaby Roper. Collection photos by Hanuk.
Designer Victor Glemaud gives menswear something to smile about.