A sad but true story for us Americans– Europe is the center of global fashion. America does possess a certain wholesome charm to it (and New York Fashion Week just moved to Lincoln Center, my backyard!), but there is just some unattainable magnetism that explodes off the page in photos of European fashion.
That’s why when I first heard about the Festival International de Mode et Photographie à Hyères (International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, France), I was immediately intrigued. Fashion and photography combined in France? Count me in, please. The festival, created 20 years ago by Jean-Pierre Blanc, simultaneously runs fashion and photography competitions for emerging professionals in these fields. An international jury including renowned industry names such as Azzedine Alaïa, John Galliano, and Ann Demeulemeester judges 10 up-and-coming designers and an equal number of photographers. The festival, appealing to everyone from gallerists to department store buyers, is a center for these young talents to receive professional opportunities such as network contacts, publicity, and exposure to the art industry.
It’s even held at an artistic landmark – Villa Noailles, the cubist villa built by Mallet-Stevens in the 1920s. The best part? Tickets to all of the exhibits are free – all you have to pay for is a plane ticket and a room for the night and you’re golden.
This year, a few of the selected designers were (take note – these names will exponentially skyrocket to fame in the near future!) Lucile Puton, Isabel Mastache Martinez and Alexandra Verschueren; the photographers included Carlo Van de Roer and Dhruv Malhotra. Dries van Noten and Johan Svensson, the art director of Paris Vogue, were two noteworthy members of the fashion and photography juries.
It is impossible to detail everything going on – from a fashion video panorama by photographer Steven Klein to a fabric and textile conference, something creative se passe toujours! There is not enough space for me to showcase all of the amazing photographs and designs displayed in the festival – you will be amazed when you peruse the collections at the official website here. Each of the designers and photographers has a singular and distinctive style that cannot be emulated. Hyères 2010 runs until May 30 so you still have time to catch a plane to France!