Hyères Festival lines up at the starting blocks

The 33rd Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography is shaping up to be quite an intense affair, featuring a programme bursting with exciting events. This year, guest of honour Haider Ackermann, president of this edition's Fashion Prize Jury, and star photographer Bettina Rheims will be leading the festivities, which start on Thursday, 26th April at Villa Noailles, and finish on Monday, 30th. 


Villa Noailles, where the Hyères Festival will take place - ph Stéphane Ruchaud

Ackermann was initially slated to participate in the Festival in his role as creative director of Berluti, but he recently left the LVMH-owned menswear label, where he was succeeded by Kris Van Assche. As part of the events programme, Japanese hair stylist Katsuya Kamo has also curated an exhibition celebrating the Colombian-born designer at Villa Noailles. Entitled "A Vanishing Act", the installation spotlights the designer's work with his own label. 
 
The other star of the Festival is undeniably Bettina Rheims, who is presiding over the Photography Prize Competition Jury. With a career of over 35 years behind her, the French photographer has long placed women and the female body at the centre of her work. Perhaps best known for her eclecticism and provocative portraits, she is responsable for some of the most famous publicity campaigns conceived for top fashion houses, and has also collaborated with a number of fashion magazines. She will host a master class at Villa Noailles on Friday, 27th April and will also be presenting an exhibition of work she completed in Los Angeles for the the magazine Detail between 1994 and 1997. 

Maison Lemarié Creative Director Christelle Kocher, who also runs her own street couture ready-to-wear brand Koché, will be presiding over the jury of the Accessories Prize Competition, launched last year. She will also have an exhibition dedicated to her at Hyères, where her work for feather specialist Lemarié will take centre stage. 

This year's Hyères Festival, which is run by founder Jean-Pierre Blanc and presided over by Pascale Mussard, will see a total of 10 emerging fashion designers, 10 young accessory designers and 10 promising photographers competing for the top spot in their respective competitions. As in previous years, visitors will also be able to discover (or rediscover) the work of a dozen or so former finalists in the Festival's "The Formers" space. 
 
Another highlight is sure to be the Festival's international fashion conferences, organised by France's Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. As well as the master class led by Bettina Rheims, this 18th edition of the conference series offers a programme of three conferences and debates slated for Saturday, 28th April: "Design faced with the challenges of artificial intelligence", "Talents, creating fashion beyond the garment" and "The future of retail, there is life after Colette!". 


Poster for the Hyères Festival - DR

And the festivities don't stop there. A series of film projections are set to take place in Villa Noailles' courtyard, with three films in particular dedicated to great designers: Karim Zeriahen's Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy (Thursday), Menna Laura Meijer's We Margiela (Friday) and Claudia Müller's Helmut Lang, le maître du minimalisme (Saturday). 

A number of other exhibitions are also on the programme and will continue until May 27th. Finally, Galeries Lafayette, longtime partner of the Festival, will be participating in proceedings with a conference on Friday, 27th April, in which the topic of discussion will be the department store chain's project for the Champs-Elysées. 

Among the Festival's new sponsors this year, L'Istituto Marangoni stands out, along with American cotton manufacturer Supima, which is giving the winners of the Fashion competition the opportunity to create a look in Supima cotton which will be presented as part of Supima Design Lab's first edition at this September's Paris Fashion Week. 

Translated by Robin Driver

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