Through parallel fashion and photography competitions, the Festival International de Mode et de Photographie à Hyères, directed by Jean-Pierre Blanc since its creation 20 years ago, gathers every year under the spotlight ten young fashion designers and ten young photographers under the patronage of an international jury.
An observatory of trends as well as an international launching pad, the Hyères festival has showcased, more than 300 first-time collections by new fashion designers from all over the world and exhibited the works of over 80 young and innovative photographers. On every edition, the festival presents at the Villa Noailles —the landmark cubist villa built in the 1920’s by Mallet-Stevens — several exhibitions that explore the permeating boundaries between art, photography and fashion.
The Festival’s public increases year after year, attracting designers, industrialists, trendwatchers, agents, buyers, textile federations, distributors, gallerists, museum directors, department stores.
The festival's aim is to offer young talents a genuine professional opportunity by providing them with material and logistical support, as well as profitable contacts and intensive media exposure.
The general public is invited to vote after the fashion shows for an audience award.
All exhibitions are admission-free and remain open until early June.
THE FASHION COMPETITION
On the three days of the festival, young fashion designers present to the public their first collection in a series of fashion shows directed by Maïda Gregoiri-Boina. Their proposals are examined and assesed by an attentive jury of industry professionals.
Numerous talents revealed by the past 20 editions of the festival's Fashion Competition have since become essential names in the world of fashion: Viktor & Rolf, Gaspard Yurkievich, Anke Loh, Alexandre Matthieu, Xuly Bët, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, Thierry Rondenet & Hervé Yvrenogeau (Own), Xavier Delcour, Cyd Jouny, Marc Le Bihan, Karine Arabian, Sébastien Meunier, Crstof Beaufays, Christian Wijnants, Rivière de Sade, Sandrina Fasoli, Laurent Edmond, Ute Ploier, Hamid Ed-Dakhissi, Henrik Vibskov, Richard René, Daniel Ledermann, Swash, C-Neeon, Romain Kremer...
To cite only a prominent few. The Festival’s tight-knit bonds with the fashion industry are one of its major assets: leading fashion companies sponsor all events and awards, and thus mark their engagement towards young talent.
Designers that have taken part in the Festival as members or the jury count Azzedine Alaïa, John Galliano, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Jean Colonna, Martin Margiela, Martine Sitbon, Ann Demeulemeester, APC, Mario-Chanet, Helmut Lang, Gilles Dufour, Véronique Leroy, Michel Perry, Alexander Van Slobbe, Philip Treacy, Hussein Chalayan, Gaspard Yurkievich, Bernhard Willhelm, Bless, Christophe Lemaire, Karl Lagerfeld, Lutz, José Lévy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Pierre Hardy, A. F. Vandevorst, Yvan Mispelaere, Anna Sui and many more.
This year, the fashion shows will take place on the beach under a tent conceived by architect Patrick Bouchain. Light and sound will be designed by Thierry Dreyfus and Frédéric Sanchez.
The villa Noailles reception hall will be re-interpreted for the occasion by David Dubois.
11 FASHION DESIGNERS
In an environment where the development of new fashion brands is becoming increasingly difficult, it is vital--now more than ever--to help young designers meet the challenges of the industrial process and, ultimately, the market. Indeed, without either of the two there would be little incentive to create new designs. Through its sponsors, the Hyères Festival is committed to providing emerging designers with the right kind of support.
The 1.2.3 Award
In addition to its financial contribution to the festival, the 1.2.3 brand shall, for the fourth time, present a special award to a selected fashion designer. The winning individual will have the opportunity to design an entire collection that will be produced and distributed by 1.2.3. Moreover, the designer will receive a grant of 15,000 euros.
The L'Oréal Professional Award
L'Oréal has been one of the festival's major sponsors for a number of years. Now, for the first time ever, L'Oréal shall accompany the jury in bestowing the festival's Grand Prize and provide additional financial support to the award through a grant of 15,000 euros. This is L'Oréal's way of re-affirming the brand's commitment to encouraging young fashion design.
The Punto Seta Award
The Italian fabric manufacturer wishes to provide an opportunity for every designer participating in the festival to produce, free of charge, a fabric of his or her own creation. In addition, among the participating designers, four shall be chosen and invited to Punto Seta's production facilities where they will be given free rein to create and employ any type of fabric (plain, printed, Jacquard, embroidery, etc.). In 2005, Punto Seta invited Romain Kremer and C-Neeon to design the fabrics of the brand's most recent collection. This year, the 11 competing designers will have the extra benefit of using fabrics created especially for them and made available for the express purpose of designing their own collection.
THE PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION
Eight years ago, the Hyères Festival opened its doors to young photography with the same pioneering spirit with which it approaches fashion.
The Festival grants creative young talents a unique opportunity to exhibit their work, confront points of view with their peers, and, first and foremost, defend their photographic portafolios in a one-to-one dialogue with art directors, managers of galleries and art institutions, established photographers and a wide variety of professionals working with images (agents, brand representatives, etc.).
The pictures of the photographers in competition will be displayed in a group exhibition. A poster campaign with their work will cover the ten cities in the region.
The Festival’s Photography Competition is aimed to push photographers forward — artistically, editorially, commercially— and every year it produces a different creative synergy that nourishes and revitalizes fashion photography. The festival has helped to launch many a carreer and initiated fruitful collaborations.
Camille Vivier, Olivier Amsellem, Anushka Blommers and Niels Schumm, Sølve Sundsbø, Martine Stig, Morgane LeGall, Daniel Stier, Vava Ribeiro, Martha Camarillo, Erwan Frotin, Charles Fréger, Joël Tettamanti, Mathieu Bernard-Reymond, Loan Nguyen, Timur Çelikdag, Franco Musso and Luciana Val, Nico Krebs and Taiyo Onorato, Thomas Mailaender, Kathryn Hillier have all shown their work at Hyères.
Former members of the photography jury include Régis Durand (Jeu de Paume), Christian Caujolle (Agence Vu), Emmanuel Perrotin (Emmanuel Perrotin gallery), Peter Saville (art director), Glenn O'Brien (writer), Paul Wombell (The Photographers’ Gallery), Luca Stoppini (Vogue Italia), Marie-Claude Beaud (Mudam, Luxembourg), Alex Wiederin (Another Magazine), Stephen Frailey (School of Visual Arts, NY), Terry Jones (i-D Magazine), Elfie Semotan (photographer), Dennis Freedman (W Magazine) and more.
In addition to the exhibits devoted to the fashion designers and photographers selected through the competition, curator Michel Mallard also strives to combine the works of young talents and established artists. Each edition of the festival provides an opportunity to commission projects from two young photographers chosen from among the finalists of previous years: one focusing on the creations of the designers in the competition and the other on the city of Hyères.
In the past, Jeff Riedel, Cédric Buchet and Erwan Frotin have offered their visions of the fashion collections, while Éric Nehr, Maurice Scheltens, Stefan Ruiz and Charles Fréger have created portraits of the town, its landscapes and its inhabitants.
The curatorial program also gives artists who are recognized and respected in the world of the visual arts a chance to be discovered by a wider public. The festival has thus spotlighted the works of Javier Vallhonrat, Guido Mocafico, Jean-Philippe Delhomme, Sølve Sundsbø and Kyoichi Tsuzuki with his "Happy Victims", a series on Japanese fashion fanatics.
By the same token, various incursions of fashion into the spheres of music, video and design find their place in the programming. Festival-goers will remember the intriguing duos formed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and Martine Sitbon, Jean Colonna and Jeff Burton, or Marcus Tomlinson and Hussein Chalayan. Special exhibits mounted on the initiative of Jean-Pierre Blanc have featured a collaboration between Gaspard Yurkievich and Dani Siciliano and a visionary interpretation of French shoes by the Bouroullec brothers Ronan and Erwan.
These exhibits often take to the road after appearing in Hyères. For example, Kyoichi Tsuzuki's "Happy Victims" went from the 2002 Festival to the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris for its 20th anniversary and then to the Photographers' Gallery in London in 2003, in MUDAM, Luxemburg in 2004 and in Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, in 2005. Similarly, the show by Sølve Sundsbø has been seen in Vienna.