Hyères Fashion Festival off to sparkling start
The 33rd International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères, France, kicked off on Thursday evening in a festive, sparkling mood. The event’s 33rd edition was inaugurated at the Villa Noailles venue by its founder and General Manager, Hyères-born Jean-Pierre Blanc, and will end on Monday 30th April. Alongside Blanc, who couldn’t hide a touch of emotion, were local authorities; the jury members of the various competitions and the event’s many partners and sponsors.
For the first time, a stand had been installed in front of the wide forecourt at the entrance of Villa Noailles, overlooking the city of Hyères. Under a blue Mediterranean sky, Blanc declared the festival officially open, saying he was “delighted and awed” by the packed audience beneath him. Among the celebrities present were actresses Tilda Swinton and Lou Doillon, supporting their friend, designer Haider Ackermann, the festival’s guest of honour and president of the jury this year.
Other personalities attending the opening, alongside Jean-Pierre Blanc and Haider Ackermann, were Bettina Rheims, jury president of the photography competition; French designer Christelle Kocher, jury chair of the fashion accessories competition; Hyères mayor Jean-Pierre Giran and Pascal Morand, President of the French Haute Couture and Fashion Federation.
In the opening address, Jean-Pierre Blanc dedicated the festival’s 33rd edition “to a friend,” artist Ludivine Caillard, who took part in the event several times. He also mentioned the team working with him on the festival, especially Maida Gregori, the Hyères Festival’s Creative Director for 20 years. “Without her, the Festival wouldn’t be what it is,” said Blanc.
“I wanted this festival to be eclectic and generous. It’s designed to reveal young creative talent. Youth has a special kind of energy, which must be fostered. Such fresh French youth is a pleasure to watch,” he said, ending however on a slightly more pessimistic note.
“I love you, and I wanted to say that I won’t continue to organise this festival in the current circumstances,” said Jean-Pierre Blanc at the end of his address. Blanc’s way of reminding the audience of how difficult it is to organise this event on a regular basis, with the inevitable last-minute changes and, above all, the struggle to scrape together sufficient resources for it.
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