If fashion is a factory of dreams, then the annual Hyères fashion festival is its stimulus. With €25,000 at the end of the rainbow, all eyes are on the prize.
Now in its 26th edition, over the years the festival has been responsible for the unveiling of the talents of Gaspard Yurkievich, Henrik Vibskov and Viktor & Rolf. 2011 invites designers to show their first collections to a stellar but scrupulous jury including Hyères President Raf Simons, Tim Blanks, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler, Cathy Horyn, Christopher Kane and Carla Sozzani. From 300 entries, ten designers have been shortlisted, in it to win it for the prestigious accolade of the L’Oréal Professional Jury Grand Prize and Premiere Vision Prize. i-D Online caught up with four of this year’s nominees ahead of the festival (29th April – 2nd May), Celine Meteil, Juliette Alleaume et Marie Vial, Lea Peckre and menswear designer Michael Kampe, to discuss the ins and outs of their designs.
Text and Interviews Michael Kowalinski
Photography Yann Gross
Tell us about contrast and opposites in your clothes… I work with natural looking materials and organic shapes and try to match these materials with more synthetic fabrics. Through synthetic veils that typically conceal and reveal the body, I play with contrasts. That’s why black colours always surround the face, the legs and the arms. The aim and starting point for me was to create areas of light and dark, experimenting with matte and shine, transparency and opaque, trying to create a bright figure and to attract the eye towards the centre of the body.
What are your references? To me, the reference is an excuse; the reality that surrounds me is already a big inspiration. From this, a place, a light, a fabric that interests me, will influence me and I translate it to a concrete reality.
Tell me about your aesthetic… It’s about main lines, which highlight the silhouette gently without moulding it. I design through supple shapes which, though structured and constructed, let you be free and light. The bright side of simple things.
What have you been dreaming of recently? It’s in my dreams that I design! I translate dreams with material and I dress the women of my dreams. She is modern and intangible, sincere and unique. The pieces of the collection I have designed are meant to dress women in their uniqueness and give every woman access to herself.
How do you use sculpture in your pieces? During my research for the collection I saw impressive sculptures by Florian Baudrexel and Martin Böttger. Together with the installations of E.V. Day and the theories of Lebbeus Woods, this deconstructive approach to modern art inspired my silhouettes and pattern construction. To construct the pieces, I draped every garment in paper on the dummy. Afterwards I recalculated the lines and angles and developed from this a “sculpture” that is finished as a garment.
How important is the mix of fantasy and reality? It is important to me that a jacket is still a jacket. The functional pockets, cuffs, dividable zipper must remain because for me these make the piece a garment and not a costume. If any piece needs extra decorative elements the piece itself is not strong enough to speak alone. The greatest challenge for me is to develop the translation from showpieces to wearable garments. I would not want to have to focus on one of them alone. Both directions stimulate each other and give me the freedom and independence to work on ideas from wild to wearable.
How would you describe the attitude of your collection? Our oversized figures are the antithesis of women’s proportions, like imposing robotic totems. It’s all about futuristic idols intending to commit a genuine affront against modesty.
How do experimentation and reflection feature in your work? We’re using our collection as a support of experimentation upon the human form. The scarecrow is the main theme of our work, using it as a pretext for spontaneous creation. Our work is also inspired by cubism, which helps us to come undone from conformist shapes in clothing and to challenge the perception of the woman’s body.
The 26th Edition of the Hyères Fashion Festival runs from 29th April until 2nd May.