May 1, 2017 by ckilkus
Hyères Festival Fetes Creativity Without Borders
HYÈRES, France — The threat of gathering political storm clouds failed to dampen spirits at the just-wrapped 32nd edition of the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography.
With the festival falling between the two nail-biting, final rounds of voting for the French presidential elections — with far right, anti-European Union candidate Marine Le Pen in the running — organizers were keen to press home the international outlook of the event with talents from far-flung nations including China, Russia and South Korea in the lineup of competing designers.
“I have said it before, both from my personal point of view and as the festival’s director: closing the borders does not make sense,” said Jean-Pierre Blanc. “We want to send the message to [Le Pen] that this does not work for us. On the contrary, they have to remain wide open.”
A shocking-pink silk flag billowed at full mast at the Villa Noailles, the early modernist estate that houses the four-day festival each year, a nod to the edition’s guest house, Maison Schiaparelli, with the brand’s style director Bertrand Guyon in the role of president of the fashion jury. At his side were industry players and personalities including Laure Heriard-Dubreuil, founder and director of