Glamour, culture, futurity: the case of the Hyères Festival

There is a festival in France that does not have the same media resonance as the Met Gala (in fact, it is far from it), but which is considered the epitome of glamour and, above all, a fundamental springboard for the new generation of creatives. It has become a case, and we explain why

by Domenico Casoria


Rather than a cultural event, the Met Gala seems to have become a sterile showcase for the major brands who, with the excuse of donating, hope to enter the vortex of social hype. There is, however, a festival in France that does not have the same media resonance as the American event (in fact, it is far from it) but which is considered the emblem of glamour and, above all, a fundamental springboard for the new generation of creatives. We are talking about the Hyères International Festival of Fashion, Photography, and Accessories, which investigates the complexity of the creative act in fashion every year.

The case of the Hyères Festival

Founded by Jean-Pierre Blanc, the festival is held annually at Villa Noailles, a cubist mansion designed in the 1920s by Robert Mallet-Stevens. Let us make things clear from the outset: the Hyères Festival can count on the support of brands such as Chanel, LVMH, and Hermès, who represent the pinnacle of the French fashion system and are willing to support young people who have learned over time to use the event as a megaphone for their own demands.

It is not a famous and sponsored event like the one held in New York, mainly because it speaks to the world of creation and not to the stars who wear the clothes. The winners include, however, Viktor and Rolf, who went on to create their own brand. Anthony Vaccarello, creative director of Yves Saint Laurent. Azzedine Alaïa, Dries Van Noten, and Julienne Dossena, current creative director of Paco Rabanne.

A plus for young people

The presence of French brands of excellence is certainly a plus for young creatives, who see in the event the possibility of a direct confrontation with established realities and who are enticed to participate. For example, in the works staged at the last edition, the idea of clothing as a protective armour was developed, thanks to which one is able to construct (or deconstruct) one’s own identity with respect to the rigid schemes imposed by society. There were many references, from the Finnish designer Leevi Ikäheimo, who revived the aesthetics of the Nineties raves by inserting rigid spikes, to the architecture of Bo Kwon Min, who built “skyscrapers” made of leather straps wrapped around the models who paraded. But it was the winners of the two most important categories that surprised everyone.


Swedish designer Petra Fagerstrom was awarded the Prix Atelier des Matières with a collection inspired by the story of her grandmother, a former Soviet paratrooper. Belgian designer Igor Dieryck won the Grand Prix of the Première Vision jury with a collection that recalled the uniform concept linked to the world of hotels where he worked during his university years. Putting the Hyères Festival and the Met Gala on the same level might seem almost strange, but we are in fact talking about an active showcase used to launch new talents with innovative ideas. Above all, it is the link between talent and the artisan world. And if you look at the names, it works.

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