For a budding designer, just being in the Hyères Fashion and Photography Festival 2013, which wrapped this weekend, is a win. Of 350 submissions, only ten fashion finalists make the cut. This year, one of the major talking points was whether judges should honor unbridled creativity or a designer’s ability to embrace reality. Headed by Lacoste’s Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who won the competition back in 2002, this year’s panel included influential photographers Liesbeth Abbenes and Maurice Scheltens, Delphine Roche, joint editor-in-chief of Numéro magazine, Imran Amed, editor-in-chief of The Business of Fashion, Barbara Countinho, director of MUDE, the Museum of Design and Fashion, Mark Holgate, director of fashion news at Vogue USA and Paula Reed, fashion director at Harvey Nichols.
In the end, the 15,000 Euro Premiere Vision Jury Grand Prize went to the 28-year-old Finnish designer Satu Maaranen. The major theme in her Garment in Landscape collection is the juxtaposition of landscape-inspired prints and out of scale accessories referencing the old haute couture world, such as the gigantic hats and bows. Audrey Hepburn’s iconic gowns turned out to be the starting point for some of the looks. The materials used were innovatively treated – our favorite is the fabric dipped in sand from the Baltic Sea beaches. As a winner Satu have the opportunity to collaborate with Petit Bateau and a blank check from Galeries Lafayette to use during the next Fashion Week in Paris.
The jury also recognized the work of 3 other designers; Shanshan Ruan, Yvonne Poei-Yie Kwok and Camille Kunz. Shanshan Ruan was awarded with the Public Prize of the City of Hyères. Shanshan took advantage of her background in painting. Her collection showed the desired color on paper. The final outcome is a series of multilayered, weightless, breathtaking garments. Yvonne Poei-Yie Kwok was awarded with the Public Prize of Palais de Tokyo. The inspiration behind the collection is the world of dolls and marionettes (hence the strings) and carnival with a dash of punk. It’s worth noting that the hues are derived from the colors of human organs. And finally The Chloé Prize went to Swiss designer Camille Kunz. Her collection, The Boy Vanishes, explored a childhood yearning to be like her brothers, extrapolating a kitchen-tile motif into breezy, tomboyish trousers paired with a silicon-dipped knit trimmed with Swarovski Elements.
Meanwhile, several finalists showed pieces that stood out in their own right, such as the leather jackets by the Russian-Latvian duo Tomas Berzins and Victoria Feldman, or Norwegian designer Damien Ravn’s rendition of medieval armor as an evening dress. For a young designer, that is the big takeaway at Hyères: You may or may not score a place in the sun, but you’ve definitely moved onto the radar. (Text Teuku Ajie)