Hyères Festival: Jean-Pierre Blanc gets the party going
Despite the weather turning grey, the Hyères International Festival of Fashion, Accessories and Photography opened on Thursday late afternoon in a relaxed, cheerful atmosphere at Villa Noailles. As usual, the public gathered on the forecourt of the elegant modernist villa, which will celebrate its centenary in 2023, overlooked this year by a gigantic inflatable doll clad only in a pair of jeans.
The doll was perched on one of the Villa Noailles’s topmost terraces, observing from above the hustle and bustle in the villa’s gardens, acting like the event’s benevolent guardian. A sort of sexy, quirky emblem, the doll was brought from Milan, where it was part of the set of Diesel's latest shows, by the Italian label’s creative director, Glenn Martens, who is chairing the fashion competition’s jury this year.
On the stage alongside him, the jury presidents for the competition’s two other categories, accessories and photography: Aska Yamashita, head of the Montex embroidery atelier, owned by Chanel, and Belgian visual artist Pierre Debusschere. Also present were the Festival’s other top authorities: the mayor of Hyères, Jean-Pierre Giran, and the executive president of the French Fashion and Haute couture Federation Pascal Morand, as well as the Federation’s president Bruno Pavlovsky (who is also the president of Chanel's fashion division, the Festival’s main sponsor).
"After two years of forced austerity, it is moving to see this forecourt so full of artists, friends and partners. This Festival means joy and enthusiasm, it represents the power of youth and new discoveries, and we have a top-notch programme for this 37th edition,” said a smiling Jean-Pierre Blanc, listing the many initiatives scheduled until Sunday October 16: exhibitions, shows, master classes, the FHCM’s “Rencontres internationales de la mode” (International fashion meetings) and, of course, the designer competition.
“This is the oldest emerging designer competition in the world. It has been held since 1985, with a mission that has never changed, that of identifying, helping, supporting, bolstering and promoting young designers,” said Pavlovsky, who also emphasised the friendly spirit that characterises the Festival, an event that has been followed passionately for more than three decades by the entire fashion industry. “We want to preserve and sustain the convivial spirit that Jean-Pierre has breathed into the Festival from the outset, giving a very special feel to this international event,” he added.
“Thirty-seven years ago, Jean-Pierre invented this Festival, which brings us together for four days and opens our eyes,” said Pascale Mussard, the Festival's president, recalling the legacy of non-conformism and openness to innovation of Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, the wealthy patrons who a century ago built the eponymous villa, where they loved to gather around them the 1920s avant-garde. “Dreams are a basic necessity. For four days, let's dream! I declare open the 37th Hyères International Festival of Fashion, Fashion Accessories and Photography,” proclaimed Mussard.
Amidst the applause, Blanc took over the microphone and handed it over to singer Axelle Red, one of the treats he had in store for the public, which came to the event's opening in numbers. It was a certified success, also among the youngest within the audience, who sang at the top of their voices the Belgian singer-songwriter's tracks.
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