Style

With H&M, Victor Glemaud Goes for Met Gala Gold

The designer talks his 2018 Met Gala look, fashion and religion, and that time he and Jennifer Hudson shocked Tom Ford

Victor Glemaud is no stranger to the Met Gala. As a designer with his own, ever-expanding range of playful knitwear and considered basics, a former KCD publicist, and a current Met Gala consultant for H&M, he’s seen every side of the red carpet. However, while he usually escorts celebrities to the Gala’s cocktail portion and then dashes, this year marked Glemaud’s first Gala as a bona fide, seated guest at H&M’s table. That means that, in addition to working with stars like Luka Sabbat, Alek Wek, Lili Reinhart, and Jasmine Sanders on their H&M looks, he had a hand in his own ensemble, one that fit perfectly with the many lavish pieces on loan from the Vatican for this year’s exhibition, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Ahead of the big event, we caught up with the designer during a fitting for his custom, show-stopping, gilded H&M suit to talk Met Gala etiquette, fashion and religion, and that time he and Jennifer Hudson shocked Tom Ford.

Katharine K. Zarrella: How did this gold H&M suit come about?

Victor Glemaud: I was a last minute addition to the H&M table, which is an honor. It is my first time sitting at the Met. And luckily, I’d seen all the sketches before. I knew what they’d designed and what was available. So when it became a possibility, I was like, “The gold one.”

KKZ: And why the gold one?

VG: Why not? It’s the Met, it’s me, it’s H&M. It’s gold. It’s a no-brainer.

KKZ: Do you remember your first Met Gala?

VG: Oh my god. It was when I was working at KCD and we went to the after party. This was probably 2000 or 2001, when it was smaller and more industry focused and more New York focused. We’d have fun in the Temple of Dendur.

KKZ: So, for any first-time attendees, what would be your tips for playing it cool on the red carpet and being greeted by Anna Wintour?

VG: Well, that part is actually nerve wracking, seeing Anna and the hosts and all of that, because they are who they are. I’m looking forward to seeing Donatella [Versace].

KKZ: It’s a big year for Donatella.

VG: It’s always a big year for Donatella. But where tips are concerned, I assume if you’re invited to the Met, you know how to work a red carpet. So the fact that [celebrities] are nervous says a lot about what this event means. But, you know what? Go for it. That’s why I’m wearing a gold suit. It’s fashion. Have fun. Push yourself if you want to. If you like the look then you’ll feel good about it. And I love my look, so I’m like, Great. I can do this. I’m gonna work the carpet. And once I’m inside, then it’s really fun. Once you’re at cocktails, you have a good time, and you see the exhibition, which I can only imagine is going to be spectacular.

KKZ: Was what do you think of the theme, Fashion and the Catholic Imagination?

VG: Oh, I think it’s genius. I think for some people, it’s polarizing and in these times, when people are concerned about women’s rights and abortion and the political climate, I think it’s actually a great time to discuss religion. The majority of people were raised with some form of religion, so I think it’s a good time to talk about it. And I think in the context of the Met, and in the context of fashion, and in the context of art, it might make you think about religion in a different way. Or if you were raised in that religion, and are lapsed like me, it might remind you of some of the better things about it. But I’m just looking forward to a beautiful, exciting, visually stimulating exhibition.

KKZ: Why is it important that fashion tackles big topics like religion?

VG: Right now, creatively for our industry, we need to be bold. We need to make statements. No one’s thinking about fashion whatsoever, except for a handful of people who are obsessed with clothes. So we need to remind people that clothes are interesting. The art of dressing and expressing yourself in a different way is a valuable outlet in these times.

KKZ: For so long, the red carpet has been all about what women are wearing, and men would just throw on the same black tuxedo and call it a day. But now, men are beginning to express themselves through clothing too.

VG: Absolutely. Last year, we—H&M—dressed Future, and he was so into pushing his look. He had these great tails. He had a beautiful silk shirt with a great bowtie. Beautiful embroidery on the back. Guys who are interested in and knowledgeable about clothes can express themselves. They know what works for them, but you can still play a little bit. If you understand fit, your skin coloring, what the occasion is, you can do a lot.

KKZ: This year’s met dress code is “Sunday Best.” Is that something you considered while picking out your Met ensemble?

VG: I just thought, Anna’s going to want to see fashion, so let’s give her gold.

KKZ: Whom did H&M dress this year?

VG: This year, everyone’s really young and, for a lot of them, it’s their first time at the Met. We did Lili Reinhart from Riverdale; Jasmine Sanders, who’s great—Golden Barbie, so she’s going to be gold; Luka Sabbat, who has an embroidered robe; Kiersey Clemons, who looks so beautiful; Alek Wek, who’s wearing this big, regal, incredible thing. Everyone looks great. They’re super excited. There have been tears. They’re honored, and I’m not going to cry but I’m super honored to go to as a guest, to have a place card, to have all of that stuff. I haven’t even told my mom because I don’t want to jinx it. I work behind the scenes. Even though I’m a visible person with my brand, and I just assume anything could happen. But now I think it’s time to tell my mom.

KKZ: In your four years of working with H&M for the Met Gala, who’s been the most fun to work with and why?

VG: You know who was super, super, super fun? Last year, Sasha Lane. She knew what she wanted. She had a great stylist. Her fittings were great. I escorted her to the Met. It was her first time and the traffic was horrific. I was like, “Are you comfortable with walking there in those shoes?” And she said, “I don’t care.” And we got out and we walked. Some people were taking pictures. She was a trooper. She had a great time. She was great on the carpet. We had some fun drinks. She was guh-reat.

I also loved working with Jennifer Hudson. It was the year before last. We were arriving at the exhibition, and Tom Ford was like, “Hi, Jennifer. What are you wearing?” And she said, “H&M.” And I could see his face processing the whole thing. That is my priceless, favorite moment of all time. He was like, “You look beautiful.” It was great. And then when we were walking, he was looking back. She had this big, long, white train, and he was looking at the whole thing. He couldn’t believe that it was H&M. That’s my favorite moment.

KKZ: What are you going to say to Anna when you get to the top of the stairs?

VG: “Do you like my look?”

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