How does one continue to innovate season after season while committing to one medium — in the case of Victor Glemaud, knitwear? The designer not only continues to build on the established codes of his namesake brand, he pushes the possibilities of his fabrication of choice with a Fall 2022 collection that's clear-eyed and focused, self-referential but ambitious.
Back in the spring of 2021, Glemaud and his team made costumes for the American Ballet Theater — a tutu with a jersey one-shoulder top. "I really enjoyed doing that. The idea of jersey stayed on my mind," he says.
So, when it came time to design Fall 2022, "I really wanted to incorporate that slinkiness, that body-sculpting, that body-con that you can do with cut-and-sew jersey." That led the team to this yarn that brought that same feeling to knitwear — where "everything could be flat, there's no pattern and there's no real texture," he says: "We're playing with the idea of, can you tell what's knit and can you see what's cut-and-sew?"
Then, soon after his Spring 2022 show at Moynihan, he watched the 1966 film "Black Girl" by Ousame Sembène — and "that became the chrysalis for what this collection was all about."
"Black Girl" follows Diouana, looking at her life as a domestic worker in the south of France and her past in Senegal. "She has a strength and elegance and dignity that countless immigrants and women of color face when they're put into these situations," Glemaud says. "I really wanted to show that strength of women who, when they leave the house, they are done — she's wearing jewelry, a scarf, a great heel. We really took all of those elements and put it into the collection."
Much of the sophistication of the Fall 2022 collection comes through in the restraint of the color palette. Glemaud works with just five colors this season: black, white, cocoa brown, café au lait and orange. "The reason why," he says, "was to seamlessly blend the collection together." By doing so, the brand keeps the attention primarily on the ease of the silhouette and the material, as it spotlights a new category.
"We're introducing this idea of our version of eveningwear, but I didn't want it to be that there was a big ballgown with a crinoline so you could tell what's different," he says. The Victor Glemaud take on it, he continues, is a continuation of what you've seen from the brand before: knitwear that's graphic and strong, cutouts that reveal just a bit, elegance that permeates throughout.
"It feels like the next iteration of where the brand has been, but it's in a very powerful and personal way," he says. "I haven't really personally put myself in the collections and in the storytelling of the collections, and this felt like the right time to do that."
For Glemaud, who says he personally prefers fall to spring (having to layer means you get to wear more clothes), this season represents a "more mature and confident" showing from the brand, one that emphasizes his range as a designer and his deep knowledge and appreciation of fashion.
"Yes, we're known for color; yes, we're known for knitwear. But we're also known for ease, we're known for what I consider true American sportswear," he says. This collection — and Glemaud's work more broadly — builds on that tradition, on the pioneering work of Stephen Burrows, Bonnie Cashin and other American sportswear greats who shaped the way we dress today.
"I love fashion history," Glemaud says. "I know what happened before. I know what's happening now, and it's finding our lane of it still being exciting for me but also relatable."
See the full Victor Glemaud Fall 2022 collection in the gallery below.