19 oct 2021

Hyères Festival 2021: what to remember from the great event of young fashion design?

From 14 to 17 October, there was an air of spring in Hyères, where the 36th edition of the International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories was held. On the program, the joyful and moving blossoming of talented young designers in an explosion of flowers and colors. Focus on the winning designers of the fashion and fashion accessories competitions, and on Numéro’s favorites.

From October 14 to 17, 2021 , the 36th edition of the International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories was held in Hyères, an unmissable event for young designers in these three fields. For the occasion, and under the impetus of Jean-Pierre Blanc, director and founder of the event, the Villa Noailles was transformed into a real Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs. In every corner, in every window and even in the toilets, the masterful floral compositions of Pierre Banchereau (florist and scenographer, behind the Debeaulieu studio in Paris) breathe colour and poetry into the modern and cubic architecture of the villa. In the gardens, curtains painted by Jacques Merle (alias Des Jacqueries, a young and talented Parisian cartoonist), let the golden sun of this month of October pass through and transform the view into a fairytale landscape, inhabited by faces tinged with a sweet melancholy. Dressed in this way, the Villa Noailles fully echoes the beautiful words of the American poet Edith Wharton, written in 1919 about the seaside town and erected as the banners of this 36th edition of the festival: “Hyères so gold, so full of flowers”. 

In this delicious “autumn spring”, particularly conducive to the emergence of new talents, the finalists of the three competitions (fashion, fashion accessories and photography) presented their projects with contagious enthusiasm. The ten young designers competing in the fashion category seem to be weaving together a hymn to joy and softness, in perfect harmony with the flowery spirit of the festival. Among them, the young Swiss Adeline Rappaz, winner of the Public Prize, particularly distinguished herself with her upcycled creations, combining the precious with the artisanal. From materials recovered around her (scraps of luxury or vintage fabrics, collection of buttons, charms), she creates quasi-architectural pieces that sometimes seem to defy the laws of gravity – like a monumental patchwork strapless dress, which seems to hold as if by magic on the model’s body without touching his skin. Combining a raw and punk spirit with soft and slightly faded colors, Adeline Rappaz explains to Numéro the importance of reappropriating the fabrics used by transforming them with natural, plant-based dyes: “For this collection, I wanted to be inspired by nature, flowers… First of all because I lived in the countryside, but also because highlighting nature is perfectly consistent with the practice of upcycling. For it to be sensitive, it was important that the chromatic palette be as far as possible from synthetic colors.”

On the evening of the show, play and joy are the key words of the catwalk,  a multicolored carpet with a false air of a play mat made by the French painter and designer Alexandre Benjamin Navet. The bestiary of the Finnish Venla Elonsalo, who transforms her models into giant plush toys (giraffes and other teddy bears) and parades them to the music of the Teletubbies, manages to get many laughs and smiles from an audience as surprised as it is enthusiastic. The very graphic and festive silhouettes of Thai Rukpong Raimaturapong, decorated with diverted Buddhist amulets or pieces of disco ball-style mirrors, also stand out for their great cheerfulness. His colorful hats made hand in hand with the Maison Michel have earned him the title of winner of the Prix 19M des Métiers d’Arts de Chanel. With this award, the young designer receives an endowment of 20,000 euros that will allow him to carry out a new project, presented next year for the 37th edition of the festival. The big winner of the fashion competition, Ifeanyi Okwuadi, who won the Première Vision Jury Prize, is no exception to the rule. Despite a very sober men’s wardrobe dominated by black, the seven looks in her collection are discreetly embellished with playful and joyful winks, like these small brooches made from Kinder toys. A spirit that Jean-Pierre Blanc, founder of the festival, particularly appreciated: “This year I noticed an enthusiasm and a taste for celebration, or rather joy, among the various candidates; through the colors and materials that were used, in particular. It’s something that interested me a lot.”

As for accessories, it is again the cheerfulness and softness that have been rewarded. With her delicate jewellery in silver coins and chiseled metals, the young French artist Capucine Huguet seduced the jury chaired by Christian Louboutin, winning the Grand Prix in her category. A graduate of the famous Central Saint Martins in London, the young jeweler spent a summer in the Arctic studying ice melting, a experience from which she drew inspiration to make your jewelry – each of the pieces presented in Hyères symbolizes a phenomenon related to this problem (from erosion to liquefaction). During the award ceremony, Christian Louboutin congratulated the young designer for her work “Sensitive, joyful and luminous (…) which gently proposes, and without seeking to make us feel guilty, to question us and to raise our awareness of climate issues and to find solutions.” Yann Tosser-Roussey was awarded the Hermès Fashion Accessories Prize for his pair of gloves made for the occasion. In the showroom that presented the various collections of the finalists, the 30-year-old designer trained at Studio Berçot had already made a name for himself with his oversized jewellery made in 3D printing, combining a kitsch and Y2K spirit (“2000s”) with a – here again – sustainable and ecological approach. Her earrings, chokers and rhinestone-studded sets, often in the shape of a heart, are made from PLA, a biodegradable substitute for plastic, made of corn starch. In 2022, the 37th edition of the festival will be held once again in October, and will be enriched by a new Prize after Jean-Pierre Blanc. An event not to be missed because, as this new season confirms, it is in Hyères that the fashion of tomorrow is revealed and made .

Adeline Rappaz © Etienne Tordoir
Adeline Rappaz © Etienne Tordoir