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September 2 2014

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At Hyères, Everyone’s a Winner

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For a budding designer, just being in the Hyères fashion and photography festival, which wrapped this weekend, is a win. Of 350 submissions, only ten fashion finalists make the cut. This year, one of the major talking points was whether judges should honor unbridled creativity or a designer’s ability to embrace reality. Lacoste’s Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who won the competition back in 2002 and served as the president of this year’s fashion jury, favors the former. “The clothes don’t have to be on the rack immediately,” he told Style.com. “But to be successful, a designer needs to show they’re thinking about the commercial side, so they really have to prove their creative flair.”

In the end, the15,000 euro Première Vision Grand Jury Prize went to Finnish designer Satu Maaranen for her Garment in Landscape collection, a poetic, freestyle exercise in hand-printed fabrics wrought with couture-inspired bows and elements of menswear. For example, on a much-noted jacket, the designer used glue to set the top portion with sand, silk-screened the rest neon pink, and looked to fishing trousers for the sleeve design. As part of her win, Maaranen will create a limited-edition T-shirt for another of the event’s sponsors, Petit Bateau.

The equally generous Chloé prize, bestowed by the fashion house for a look that honors its heritage, went to Swiss designer Camille Kunz. Her collection, The Boy Vanishes, explored a childhood yearning to be like her brothers, extrapolating a kitchen-tile motif into breezy, tomboyish trousers paired with a silicon-dipped knit trimmed with Swarovski Elements.

The audience had their say, too. In Hyères, Paris-based Chinese designer Shanshan Ruan won the Public Prize for an ethereal collection inspired by memory and emotion, while in Paris, spectators at the Palais de Tokyo live stream gave the nod to Dutch finalist Yvonne Poei-Yie Kwok for her carnivalesque mash-up.

Meanwhile, several finalists showed pieces that stood out in their own right, such as the leather jackets by the Russian-Latvian duo Victoria/Tomas, or Norwegian designer Damien Ravn’s rendition of medieval armor as an evening dress. For a young designer, that is the big takeaway at Hyères: You may or may not score a place in the sun, but you’ve definitely moved onto the radar.

Photo: Courtesy photo

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