2 posts tagged "Hyeres"
Last weekend, London-based designer Steven Tai headed to the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography. As the 2012 winner of the festival’s prestigious Chloé award, the designer has a unique perspective on the fair. Here, he shares the details of his trip exclusively with Style.com.
Started in 1985 by Jean-Pierre Blanc, the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography has served as a launching pad for new talents for nearly three decades. This year, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the creative directors of Kenzo and founders of Opening Ceremony, were the head of fashion jury for the twenty-ninth edition of the festival. As the winner of the 2012 Chloé award, I had the opportunity to show my Fall ’14 collection as part of The Formers exhibition, where previous winners of the festival present their latest work and touch base with the community that started their careers. This year, Kenta Matsushige took first prize in the fashion category, and I was lucky enough to get a first look at her collection.
After disembarking the Eurostar, I made a quick pit stop at Totem’s new office in Paris to pick up my collection.
A skip, a hop, a five-hour train ride, and a cab later, we arrived at the Villa Noailles, where the festival would take place the next day. The sunny weather was the first sign that this would be an amazing year.
Off to the catwalk space to have a nosy peek at the rehearsal for this year’s finalists. And of course the first thing I did was have a look at the lineup…
…then it was over to the runway. An amazing giant door that the models walked through reminded me of one of my favorite childhood stories, Alice in Wonderland.
Back to the hotel and it was time to start some hand-sewing. Well, sort of…
The next morning, finalists had to present their collections to the jury. You can see the collections lined up in the tent behind all the models in hair and makeup. There was tension—someone’s destiny was at stake. And everyone in attendance was there to support the ten finalists as they pursued their dreams.
Before settling in to see the finalists’ collections, I wandered around the villa and saw the Kenzo exhibition getting installed. It featured a mixture of vintage and current Kenzo pieces on rotating mannequins.
After the nerve-racking presentation to the jury, the finalists showed their collections to the press. I had the pleasure of sitting in on the press presentation. It was so interesting to hear other designers’ thought processes.
After another night of hand-sewing and five coffees, the showroom was ready to go—and so was I! Continue Reading “Designer Diary: Steven Tai’s Postcard From Hyères” »
Never mind their guest lists of the avant-garde’s great, good, and badly behaved, Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles’ villa on a hill above the town of Hyères in the South of France must have seemed to the locals like a bemusing glimpse of the future when it was built in the mid-1920′s. Its blocky modernism is still incredibly striking in the pink-shaded and shuttered context of a typical Riviera town, and you couldn’t wish for a better setting if you were an arts festival looking to stage a competition that celebrates creativity untrammeled by the forces of Mammon. Which, for the fashion end of the festival, translates into exhibitions of work by recent graduates from around Europe, for whom Hyères offers one final attempt to Truly Express Themselves. It might be their one last grasp at the high-concept ring before they’re subjected to the external disciplines of internships, studio assistant positions, and judgmental barb-tongues telling them to get real.
Except the judges at Hyères this year weren’t like that at all. The composition of the jury embraced a universe of sensibilities, from the rigorous thought processes of chair Raf Simons and editrix Jo-Ann Furniss, through the not-much-older-than-the-finalists Christopher Kane, Lazaro Hernandez, and Jack McCollough, to the well-seasoned industry perspectives of Carla Sozzani, Floriane de Saint-Pierre, Cathy Horyn, and Michel Gaubert, with my rosé connoisseurship bringing up the rear. Juries are a challenging proposition. In both numbers and gender equity, we were nowhere near 12 angry men, but the differences of opinion—and the passion with which they were aired—were a surprise, especially given that there was genuine agreement on one thing: This was not a bumper fashion year in Hyères. In the spirit of the place, it was bemusing, and even blocky hyères and thyères. But bumper? No.
The jury saw the finalists’ clothes three ways: as a presentation, on the catwalk, and in a showroom. It was fascinating how our appreciation of the designers ebbed and flowed according to the mode in which we were encountering them. Here, the fabrics ruled, there, the showmanship. The eventual winner was Lea Peckre from France. Her collection, Cemeteries Are Fields of Flowers (above), was polished in its execution, intriguing in its fabrication. I’m a sucker for wood sequins—and she also used GodSpeed You! Black Emperor as her show music, which can’t hurt. The attention to structure and the concierge color palette of Peckre’s clothes also had hints of Jean Paul Gaultier, with whom she interned. That too can’t hurt.
The jury’s honorable mention—and the competition’s most polarizing designer—was Emilie Meldem from Switzerland. Some members of the jury were utterly seduced by her directness, her drollness, and what she referred to as “the minimal eccentricity” of the Swiss aesthetic. What I loved most were the showpieces woven from twigs. (“Half my village helped on the dress,” she said with what might have been a chuckle, but could have been a choke.) Each stick was, according to Meldem, treated like a piece of jewelry. The result was so pagan, so ritualistic, that I felt like I was looking at The Wicker Man à la mode. Which can’t be bad.
One final note: Hyères is open to independent applicants from all over the world, which seems to be a well-kept secret. It doesn’t matter where you live, where you received your fashion education. So one word of advice to fashion students everywhere: Apply! Hyères at this time of year? A small patch of heaven.