Once a year, the charmingly sleepy harbour town of Hyères in the south of France stirs from its picturesque tranquillity when cubist Villa Noailles attracts a pilgrimage of up-and-coming designers and photographers as well as influential industry and media patrons. Recently, the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography held at the villa celebrated the young cream of the crop of talents for the 28th time – and iconic artists like Salvador Dalí, Man Ray or Jean Cocteau, who frequently enjoyed the hospitality of their friends and patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles at the spectacular villa almost a century ago, would have been delighted and impressed by this year’s participants.
Hyères Festival 2013.
Party like the Roaring Twenties.
Berlin designer Henning Jurke, for example, sets the tone with his Celebration collection of festively scintillating 1920s-inspired evening attire – think sequinencrusted suits and quilted jackets with a candy wrapper-like rustle and crackle. As part of his clever and carefully orchestrated choreography, Henning Jurke’s looks progress through a range of different moods: from pre-party excitement to exuberant climax right down to next-morning’s post-party blues.
Alone among brothers.
Swiss designer Camille Kunz, on the other hand, opts for an almost surreal girl-boy metamorphosis. Growing up as the only girl among several brothers, she reveals that “for a while, I would have preferred to be a man, too”. “My collection offers a playful exploration of my brothers’ wardrobe”, says the petite designer with the blond pixie cut. The resulting lines flirt with a typically male silhouette – broad shoulders and narrow hips – as well as archetypical boyswear references: hooded tops, bomber jackets, knee-length shorts and trainers. At the same time, her chosen fabrics tell an entirely different story with their complex and chimerical qualities – here, shiny brown latex meets digital polyester prints; mint-coloured patent leather clashes with filigree patterns.
Personal and evocative fashion.
“We were looking for a very personal statement”, explains Felipe Oliveira Baptista – this year’s head of the Hyères fashion jury and Lacoste’s creative director, as well as a firm fixture on the Paris runways with his own label. A previous winner of the prestigious Grand Prix du Jury Première Vision, it is now his turn to sift through the works of hundreds of applicants, joining the jury in their selection of outstanding collections by the likes of Yvonne Poei-Yie Kwok (winner of the Prix du Public du Palais de Tokyo) whose clothes cite the style of circus artists. Chinese contestant Shanshan Ruan opts for a more personal and intimate approach that won her the Prix du Public de la Ville d’Hyères.
Centred around the female body in motion, her light and airy collection is built around and for the female form as envisaged by the designer.
Finnish culture meets Haute Couture.
The one that truly wowed the crowds, however, turned out to be Finnish designer Satu Maraanen, recipient of this year’s Grand Prix du Jury Première Vision. In her work, the graduate of Helsinki’s Aalto University blends the grandezza of vintage haute couture – expansive hats, outsized bows, sculptural outfits – with the notion of a leisurely stroll through the woods that requires “eminently practical attire”, according to Satu Maraanen. Adding to this clear juxtaposition, she injects some of Finland’s characteristic textile tradition – while her elaborate prints evince water colours and course brush strokes. Their bold colours conjure up another Finnish fashion and textile print pioneer: Armi Ratia, who founded the Marimekko fashion emporium in 1951, a venture that continues to surprise and delight the world with its unfussy graphic prints.