Hyères Fashion Festival off to sparkling start on Thursday evening
After the rain, the sun shines. Neither the thunderstorms of the last few days, which made preparations so difficult, nor the grey skies that followed could stop the International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères, France, from opening with a bang on Thursday evening as scheduled. A packed crowd filled the Villa Noailles forecourt, almost stopping people from getting through, as local singer Camélia Jordana jazzed up the atmosphere ahead of the festival’s official start.
The magical Villa Noailles venue, illuminated by multicolored beams of light, was steeped in good humour and a light-hearted atmosphere as the event’s founder and general manager Jean-Pierre Blanc opened the festival’s 34th edition, which will end on Monday April 29. Alongside Blanc, local politicians, including Hyères mayor Jean-Pierre Giran, the competitions’ judges and countless guests from the festival’s sponsors.
First off, Blanc said he wanted “to begin the festival by thinking about Karl.” “In 34 years, I met many extraordinary people through this Festival, but one in particular was top of the list: Karl Lagerfeld. With him, everything was brilliant, at once fun and exciting,” said Blanc.
In 2015, the Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary under the aegis of Chanel and its famous couturier, who died last February. The organisers of the Festival’s fashion competition paid tribute to Lagerfeld on the opening night, presenting the documentary ‘Karl Lagerfeld se dessine’, filmed by columnist Loïc Prigent in 2012.
In the opening address, Blanc once more underlined the difficulties encountered each year in trying to organise an event that will reward the winners of three competitions (for fashion, fashion accessories and photography) at the end of four days brimming with workshops, catwalk shows and other happenings. Not to mention the 'Rencontres internationales de la mode' (International fashion meetings) organised by the French Haute Couture and Fashion Federation.
However, at the heart of the event and of Villa Noailles, there are above all the artists, as Blanc emphasised: “Everything we do is for them, so that you can discover, appreciate and take an interest in them. The three most important artists this year are the three jury presidents: Natacha Ramsay-Levi, creative director of Chloé, jewellery designer Charlotte Chesnais and photographer Craig McDean.”
Blanc then presented the festival’s intense programme, with a special mention for “a major novelty, the Métiers d’art Prize [a prize for fine craftsmanship] instituted with Chanel,” which has become “our great, great, great partner,” as well as for the many other public and private sponsors that support the event.
“There are many people here tonight, but it is a rare thing to see so many people I love and appreciate per square metre,” said Blanc, ending with a big smile.
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