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A tête-à-tête with Karl Lagerfeld? That's not even likely to happen in Hyères. Neither will you get a career as a fashion designer on a silver platter; not to mention one as an international shooting star photographer after receiving an award. So what's the secret behind Villa Noailles, the very French Festival of Fashion and Photography? Why has the festival in southern France existed for 30 years now? "It wasn't that easy to organize the festival every year," founder Jean-Pierre Blanc, who was notably moved to tears, stated clearly at the press conference held at the opening of the festival. In 2015, and its 30th year, his dreams seem to have come true. The House of Chanel represented by Creative Studio Director Virginie Viard, Image Director Eric Pfrunder and Karl Lagerfeld has brought the event in 2015 worldwide attention and stood side by side with equally famous jury colleagues including Caroline von Monacco or Sebastien Tellier (see GoSee article) next to Jean-Pierre Blanc.
From the 23rd through the 27th of April, the star-studded 30th Festival International de Mode et de Photographie took place at the Villa Noailles, in southern France's city of Hyères. Each year, the festival awards young fashion designers and photographers and gives the winners several prizes with the support of its partners. Besides Karl Lagerfeld as the Art Director, the festival gladly welcomed Virginie Viard, Directrice des Studio de Création at CHANEL, as the President of the fashion jury. At her side, you'll find the President of the photography jury, Eric Pfrunder, who is Directeur de l’Image at CHANEL.
Now back to the secret – and getting to the bottom of it. At GoSee, we have been wondering and have our own speculations. Is it the charm of southern France, which inevitably leads to a more relaxed atmosphere? Or is it that Paris, with all its closely abided by conventions seems so far away? Is Hyères so well hidden that the pressure of not having enough time cannot find it? Or does the optimism of the young designers and photographers automatically infect the festivals visitors? Whatever it is: Hyères is just like a perfect collection – the magical ingredients of the recipe are what determine the enchanting flavor: a legendary location, a professional team, motivated young talents, curious visitors... year after year, the event gives us the opportunity to get inspired. And even though France is very aware of how important its fashion industry is – in 2015, Ministre de la Culture Mme Fleur Pellerin announced that her ministry would secure the festival financially for the next three years – money is definitely not the secret of Villa Noailles; au contraire, there is a mysterious spirit of solidarity in the air which its like-minded visitors can feel. We have several pictures and original statements for you.
30.04.2015 // show complete article
As an aspiring, young fashion designer, you can participate by submitting an online application with an outfit and a portfolio. The amazing thing about 2015 was that, of the ten finalists, a total of three Finnish and three German participants made it into the final round, next to one contender each from Spain, the Netherlands, and France, plus the very impressive Yiyu Chen from Taiwan.
And although the festival organizers and her mother tried to convince us that Annelie Schubert, who won the Grand Prix later on, is a Frenchwoman – GoSee knows the truth. The Weißensee graduate may have the finesse and flair of a Parisian, but her high level of craftsmanship and her charming reserved character clearly reveal her origin.
Was her victory a surprise? Not for those who witnessed after the first presentation on Friday evening how many journalists gathered around the young German talent on Saturday morning when the showrooms were opened.
The concluding statement of the Jury on her final collection titled Aprons/Womenswear says it in a nutshell: "This is a highly thought out choice. Annelie Schubert presents a true silhouette, strong and clear. The details are subtle and the construction is discrete. The relationship between the fabrics and the colors is incredible. Annelie Schubert has taste and elegance. She has an endearing personality and is very sensitive, unpretentious, down to earth, and fresh."
Her prize was 15,000 euros, which was donated by Première Vision, plus the opportunity to participate both at the Première Vision New York and the Vision Paris fashion shows. She also won an opportunity to collaborate with Chanel's Métiers d'art worth 15,000 euros, as well as a collaboration with Petit Bateau for one or more of their products.
Each year, Prix Chloé asks the 10 designers to create their vision of the Chloé woman. The looks were also shown in a fashion show after the Grand Prix show. In this competition, the prize went to the second German Anna Bornhold (HfK Bremen), who entered outfits from her collection FASHION.IMITATION, Womenswear, with a look that also inspired GoSee – because the imitation was an even greater illusion. What seemed to be a fluffy kind of denim lookalike was actually a slacks creation made of cotton sewing thread, each piece hand-made in 50 hours of work – absolutely unique. The jury's verdict: 'This choice was clear for us: The unusual look and the nonchalance of her silhouette, its utter “coolitude.” ' The prize was also 15,000 euros.
We absolutely have to share Taiwanese Yiyu Chen (Womenswear, Nijmegen) with you, who inspired the audience and us too with her creations which rightly won her the Audience Award. Her high-class looks somewhere between Björk, Alexander McQueen, Ninja, and haute couture are a blend of drama and elegance; feminine and made for the big screen.
The Special Jury Prize in 2015 was won by Wieke Sinnige from the Netherlands for her collection SOFT SQUARES, Womenswear. "It is the artistic aspect of her collection that touched us, as well as the subtlety of the embroideries, the transparencies, the sense of light. We wanted to encourage her to continue in her work." the jury explains its decision. Her prize is the opportunity to collaborate with CHANEL’s Métiers d'art worth 10,000 euros.
30.04.2015 // show complete article
"Fashion dies young, that's what makes it so touching", the quote of the Frenchman Jean Cocteau, was a winged phrase in different variations at Hyères 2015, and Minister Fleur Pellerin explicitly emphasized that it dies younger every year. The collection has hardly made it onto the shelves, and the intermediate collections have to be created if you want even half a chance of following the market momentum, the competition and the trend. This applies to young designers as well as to big fashion houses.
That is why young talent is such an indispensable guarantee for innovation, for creativity, for esprit in fashion. And when the shows are over, the showrooms of the finalists become a place for inspiration and finding new networks. So it was no big surprise to see Virginie Viard and her jury colleagues absorbed in deep conversations in the small fashion tents. The finalists were sometimes so overwhelmed by the crowds that they didn't even know who was speaking with them or being photographed – which made it simple to photograph Caroline of Hanover and Monacco with Annelie Schubert on the first day, or Caroline de Maigret with Anna Bornhold, who won the Prix Chloé later on...
Another important part of the event is the second tent area titled 'The Formers' where last-years Grand Prix or Prix Chloé winners have the opportunity to present their latest work to the industry, the jury, and last, but not least, the media. "The best part about the festival is," Dutch Chloé 2014 award winner Liselore Frowijn tells GoSee "that you are really guided by experts while developing your career. I am just in the middle of a cooperation with an Italian clothing company, and I look forward to my new scarves collection which will appear this fall. But it is, of course, a great opportunity to network."
This is how we saw the fashion jury at the booths again, completely relaxed as they have a look at the fashion, feel it in their hands, and discuss it. And then the entire jury left in a slightly exaggerated Mercedes Benz shuttle phalanx to a déjeuner on the beach or the VIP area.
30.04.2015 // show complete article