Two’s Company: Victor Glemaud and Camilla Staerk
When they simultaneously hit the New York fashion map over a decade ago, designers Camilla Staerk and Victor Glemaud instantly became best friends. These days when they are together-which is always, by the way—they steal the scene as downtown fashion’s darling due. Staerk is Danish and her chosen aesthetic is accordingly dark, severe, literary, and modern. Born in Haiti and educated under Patrick Robinson at the Gap, Glemaud’s personal style and menswear line reflect the roots of a tropical dandy. Odd couple, but tonight the designers, who call each other “sister,” present their Fall/Winter 2009 collections back-to-back at Milk Studios.
In preparation for their big day, Interview spent a night out with Staerk and Glemaud at their favorite Soho eatery, Lucky Strike. They chatted about the restaurant as if it were sponsoring them, about Fashion Week and friendship, their notorious night owl routine, and why sometimes shopping in New York is a bitch.
COLLEEN NIKA: How did two you first meet?
VICTOR GLEMAUD: Oh, it was the late 90s, and actually about a block from here! I was working for Patrick Robinson at the time. And we met on my birthday…
CAMILLA STAERK: I was studying in London then, and I decided to do my internship in New York City. And I arrived on February 1—Victor’s birthday—and I met him at Patrick’s show and it was… [LAUGHS]
VG: Exactly. We ran around New York together, then we hung out in London a lot, then Denmark and Paris. We went on a lot of trips together. We still vacation together. Camilla’s husband, Mr. [Barnaby] Roper, calls me his second wife. [LAUGHS]
CS: He’s accepted it.
CN: What made you decide to present together this season?
CS: It was a very quick and natural decision. I mean, in these times, this economy…
VG: No one is recession proof!
CS: Exactly. You have to think efficiently.
VG: After Paris in October, we all took a few weeks off and then we started to chat about next season. No one knew what was going to happen with the economy, so we thought…
VG: Why not?
CN: You two like to go out a lot. What are your favorite spots?
VG & CS: Here!
VG: And we like the Beatrice. We love to eat at Macao Trading Company. Where else do we go?
CS: I go to the Bowery Lounge a lot.
VG: Well, it’s right down the street from your house! People call us vampires because we tend to go out very late and then “take over.” I don’t think we’re that “loungey” per se. We don’t go out dancing; we have dinner and then “attack.” But you know, recently I’ve been into making these homemade chicken dinners. I throw a chicken in the oven, get some wine, invite some people over. I look for any holiday, any excuse to throw one of these parties: Easter, Halloween, whatever!
CS: [LAUGHS] We love our home dinners!
CN: Where are your favorite places to shop?
CS: There’s a great bookstore near where I live—Dashwood Books. All they sell are photography books. They’re great. And for clothes, I only shop vintage. That’s when I love the East Village-but don’t ask me to name names.
VG: I actually don’t go shopping with her, because she takes forever. But, recently we went to Cherry together…
CN: Cherry is fun. Have you been to Edith Machinist?
VG: Yes! The last time we were there, we went crazy for the shoes. But I’m actually really kind of lazy about shopping. I hate it—trying on clothes, the sales people always telling you “You look fabulous!” There’s the few designers that I love and I know what fits me. I know my size, I go, I get it, and I’m out the door. Done! But I do love Barney’s.
CN: What other designers interest or influence you?
CS: I’ve always loved Azzedine Alaia.
VG: Dries Van Noten. I wear him all the time. Locally, we love Antonio Azzuolo. My friend Tim Hamilton’s clothes are really cute. We love Laura and Kate from Rodarte—they are really sweet and we love what they do: they are some of New York’s more “famous” innovators. And I love Patrick Robinson, of course!
CN: Do you like what he’s done for the Gap?
VG: Of course! This sweater is from the Gap, actually.
CN: What inspires your creative process?
CS: My collections are always based around characters. I take inspiration from literature and art. I also realize that growing up in Denmark influences why I do what I do in my work-sometimes subconsciously and sometimes intently, like with my Spring collection, which was inspired by Danish ghost stories. Moving to New York actually made me realize where these ideas come from. But I also grew up in a family that really promoted Danish design and art.
VG: For me, I just like for things to be colorful and clean-cut. I love color because it works on me.
CN: Why do so many men avoid playing with colorful wardrobe options?
VG: Men stick with neutrals because it’s easy! And also, it’s actually pretty hard to locate that perfect green shirt.
CN: Where do you see yourselves, say, five years from now?
VG: Aside from eating at Lucky Strike?
CS: I think I really want to focus on defining Staerk’s aesthetic, asking, “What is this brand about?” And since I love to design, I can’t help but want to do more, to add more categories—I already do shoes and bags. In these times we’re living in, who knows?
CN: You have to take it season by season.
VG: Exactly. I do think it’s good to have a plan, but you never know! I may do womenswear, I’d love to do accessories, I want to do it all!
CN: With your disparity in aesthetics, your joint presentation makes for quite an interesting pairing. Will your presentations overlap or relate to each other thematically?
VG: Well, I haven’t seen what she’s doing. But my collection is done. I finished it in September and this time it’s a bit more… aggressive than usual. It’s a quite bit darker! So, I guess that people might believe that’s it’s related to Camilla’s show because of that!
CN: People are going to say that Camilla influenced you!
VG: Maybe! Tell us what you think!
Camilla Staerk and Victor Glemaud show their collections tonight at Milk Studios. Attendance is invitation-only. Portrait above by Hanuk.