The 32nd edition of Hyères’ International Fashion & Photography Festival took place in the South of France last week-end. The festival, directed by JeanPierre Blanc and presided over by Didier Grumbach, annually encourages and supports young artists in the fields of fashion and photography. I was invited, alongside Matthias Ganem from TechTera, by the French Couture Federation to summarise two talks about FashionTech and Blockchain applied to Intellectual Property. We also spent some time with fashion designer Clara Daguin, who was presenting her new collection as part of the Formers section – showcasing the finalists from previous years’ editions.
This year’s edition felt special, as you must know France is currently in the middle of its presidential election, with the threat of having a counter democratic candidate at the helm of our government in less than a week. In such a context, it was impossible nothing would be said on the subject. So when Jean-Pierre Blanc, President of the Festival and Villa Noailles, seized the opportunity to bring up the topic during his inaugural speech, the tone was set.
“We stand against the Front National. Here, it’s anything but the turn upon ourselves or frontiers closure.“
As Clarisse Reille, Executive Director of DEFI France (an institution for the promotion of French fashion), shared, “There is no fashion in dictatorships. Fashion is the sign of freedom in our democraties“.
— futur404 (@futur404) April 29, 2017
A hint of positivity in the current times, symbolised through the shocking pink shades all over the conferences tent, and a flag, in tribute to Elsa Schiaparelli, was floating over the Villa Noailles throughout the 4 days of the festival. Bold and creative collections were presented by the 10 fashion finalists, coming from all around the world, as a stand for human gathering.
A Fashion Prize celebrating technical performance
This year, the fashion design prize went to Vanessa Schindler, a young Swiss designer who graduated from Geneva’s Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design (HEAD). Her collection, « Urethane Pool, chapter 2 » took two years of research to find a soft and plastic material. She chose urethan, a liquid polymer that blends into the fabric fibers and gives it a glowing effect. She then welded the fabrics layers, making her design seamless.
Hermès, Iris van Herpen’s CEO & the rise of tech in French fashion
Having Vanessa selected as this year’s winner tells a lot about the place tech and innovative design approaches is slowly taking in French Fashion. In addition to celebrating progress through her prize, the French Couture Federation held two talks about FashionTech, as a way to further install the subject within the preoccupation of French fashion brands executives. Not seeing tech floating as a flag over our heads doesn’t mean nothing is happening behind the scenes, because it is. And the most notable move to illustrate this might be Hermès exploring the Blockchain technology to better protect their intellectual property. As I said during my short talk, a lot has been happening since I launched Clausette two years ago, and it’s a very positive sign.
Our friend Clara Daguin showcasing her latest collection
We couldn’t conclude this post without showing you Clara Daguin‘s latest designs. I met Clara two years ago during a hackathon in Paris, since then, we’ve been spending some time together and I’m her number one fan, so you can imagine how happy I was when she asked me to pose for her new collection.
In this collection, Clara used an electroluminescent wire – the blue one we can see on above picture; as well as reflective fabrics that was plisséed by Maison Lognon. Marked by her experience in the heart of an oasis in the Californian mountains, Clara recalls the powerful freedom feeling caused by a total nudity: electronic devices are forbidden, and clothing is optional. Accepting a deep slow-down, the absurdity of our unrestrained races leaves room for a new energy.
The Aura collection is a manifestation of this energy, composed of the flux we create and the ones that live inside of us.