#AllEyesOnHyeres2014: Meet the 10 Competing Designers

April 27th, 2014

In preparation for their meeting with the Design Jury, the 10 Competing Designers hurried around making last-minute adjustments and consulting with stylists, while The Stimuleye spent some time getting to know each candidate.

Herewith, a selection of video, photography, and text that offer brief introductions to each of these talented young designers.

All Photos by Filep Motwary

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Marit Ilison

Who are you? Your age, your origin, your background, type of collection?
My name is Marit Ilison, I’m 29 years old and live and work in Tallinn, Estonia.  I have a diploma in pattern making  and I studied one year as an exchange student at Danish Design School before receiving my MA degree in Fashion Design from the Estonian Academy of Arts in 2008.  Since then I have been working as a freelance artist and designer, creating in the fields of  conceptual art, fashion, costume design, site-specific installations, perceptional experiences and exhibition design. I also teach and play drums in a psychedelic band.

How would you describe Hyères in three words?
Palms, unreal, friendly.

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
Meeting like-minded people and collaborating with small local artisans in Tallinn. It is so wonderful how so many people have believed in my work and helped me to execute it.

What is your collection about? Please explain your inspiration and starting point, and how it has evolved in the process.
Regardless of the discipline, my main goal is always to create memorable experiences and I always start from a feeling I want to create or an idea I want to express. Longing for Sleep is inspired by my haunting wish to sleep during the dark wintery time called kaamos. Kaamos is a word only know in Estonian and Finnish and it’s referring to the time from November to January when the days are very short and it barely gets light. On one side I would only like to stay in bed and daydream at that time, but on the other side I feel conscience pricking me, which reminds that I should actually be working instead of sleeping. To materialize the feeling I’ve created a collection using original vintage Soviet woolen blankets.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyeres will help you in the future?
It is a truly unique chance to present my work to wider audience and get the spotlight on it. I am looking forward to meet like-minded people and find exciting future collaborations in fashion design, site-specific installations and experiences.

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 Louis Gabriel Nouchi

Who are you? Your age, your origin, your background, type of collection?

My name is Louis Gabriel Nouchi. Im french, I’m 26 years old. I live in Brussels. I’m studying at La Cambre.

How would you describe Hyères in three words?
Intense, exciting, sunny.

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
To see my clothes worn by a real model.

What is your collection about? Please explain your inspiration and starting point, and how it has evolved in the process.
I’ve made a collection about the movie Princess Mononoke from Hayao Miyasaki and the notion of balance between opposite forces that have to live together in harmony.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyeres will help you in the future?
I hope it will help me to meet professionals and create contacts for whatever is going to happen after school.

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Liselore  Frowjin

Who are you? Your age, your origin, your background, type of collection?
My name is Liselore Frowijn, I am 22 years old and I come from the Netherlands. I graduated Cum Laude less then a year ago at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands, on my bachelor fashion design. I designed a collection womenswear which is about the contrast between sportswear and luxury with the use of self designed fabrics.

How would you describe Hyeres in three words?
I would describe Hyères as exciting, energetic, and a creative meltingpot.

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
Regarding to the festival I think my favorite part of the process so far is to meet all the other designers and creatives, being together in the villa and working hard to create a beautiful festival.

What is your collection about? Your inspiration and starting point and how it has evolved in the process.
My collection ‘’Afternoon Of A Replicant’’ is about the clash between sportswear and luxury, which is based on the cut-outs of Matisse. By cutting and pasting with paper, I created cut out-suits for women of my time. Above these suits are pieces of artisanal fabrics with self-designed prints, hand-painted or embroidered. The silhouettes are voluminous and layered. The transparency of fabrics causes an eclectic play-a-long between background and foreground: a fresh kind of luxury is the result.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyeres will help you in the future?
I hope that Hyeres will bring me the right connections to help my career a level up in the fashion industry. I would like to work as a fashion designer womenswear in a house in for example Milan or Paris to gain more experience. Later on, I would like to have my own brand. By being part of this Festival all ten finalist are really put on the radar, a lot of people will notify our work, which can be very helpful.

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Agnese Narnicka

Who are you? Your age, your origin, your background, type of collection?
My name is Agnese Narnicka, I am from Latvia, Riga city. I received an M.A. from the Art Academy of Latvia in 2009. I have enriched my knowledge and experience in Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Italy, Milano. After graduating I started to work on my own label One Wolf. I will present menswear collection “Repair man.” Collection has urban shapes and multi layered look.

How would you describe Hyeres in three words?
Bloom, Team, Future

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
My speech rehearsal :}

What is your collection about? Your inspiration and starting point and how it has evolved in the procedure. 
The Inspiration for collection “Repair man” comes from my personal experience in 2012 when I was doing repair-works in my apartment. During this period I met several craftsmen whose personalities influenced the making of collection and are reflected in its characters. By taking off the old paint, by coating walls, painting, grinding and applying tiles I discovered many textures, colours and combinations of different materials.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyeres will help you in the future?
The Hyères festival provides an opportunity to show my creations to a wider audience and to get new contacts. I really appreciate this opportunity!

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Coralie Marabelle

Who are you? Your age, your origin, your background, type of collection?
My name is Coralie Marabelle, I am French and I am from Paris. I am presenting a womenswear collection for the Hyères Festival.

How would you describe Hyeres in three words?
Exciting, surprising, promising.

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
So far i have really enjoy discovering the Villa Noailles. It’s an amazing place full of history. I feel super excited to work in this place where so many amazing artists have come before.

What is your collection about? Your inspiration and starting point and how it has evolved in the process.
My collection is inspired from a picture of persian sheep shearers in 1952. Inspired by a very masculine outfit, I dreamt of a very feminine woman.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyères will help you in the future?
I think the Hyères festival gives us a lot of visibility which is amazing. It also give us the opportunity to meet a lot of people from the fashion industry.

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Anne Kluytenaar

Who are you? Your age, your origin, your background, type of collection?
My name is Anne Kluytenaar, I am 27 years old and I am from the Netherlands. My collection is menswear.

How would you describe Hyères in three words?
Inspiring, exceptional, fun!

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
My favourite part so far was making the fabrics and creating embroidery.

What is your collection about? Please explain your inspiration and starting point, and how it has evolved in the process.
I was inspired for my concept when my father told me one evening that he would continue to live life as a woman. She was not aware of the physical difference between women and men and would wear all the volume on the shoulders and wear a slim pencil skirt with it which augmented her masculine shape. To me the house of Chanel is a perfect example of luxurious elegance with a clear silhouette. Also their rich fabric and details were very inspiring.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyeres will help you in the future?
It has opened me up to broader possibilities in the international fashion scene, allowing me to showcase my work to a wide audience and connect with industry professionals as well as like minded designers.

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Roshi Porkar

Who are you? Your age, your origin, your background, type of collection?
Roshi Porkar, 25, Vienna, women’s wear.

What is your collection about? Please explain your inspiration and starting point, and how it has evolved in the process.
Feminine, fancy. fancy. The theme of the collection is based on a series of little statutes of stone, known as the Bactrian Princesses. I worked around the woman’s body, exaggerating the conventionally desired form for a woman’s body.
How would you describe Hyères in three words?
Exciting, emotional, exhausting.

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
Getting to know all the talented contestants and the jury members.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyeres will help you in the future?
I just hope to be busy for the next few years.

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Pablo Henrard

Who are you? Your age, your origin, your background, type of collection?
My name is Pablo Henrad, I’m belgian and I just finished studying at La Cambre. I am presenting a menswear collection called Maelstrom.

How would you describe Hyeres in three words?
Exciting, exhausting, and crazy.

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
To meet and to get to know all the contestants.

What is your collection about? Your inspiration and starting point and how it has evolved in the process.
I worked on the darkness and the mystery of the untouched oceanic abyss. I questioned the notion of elegance, sensuality and sophistication in the masculine wardrobe.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyères will help you in the future?
It surely helps because of all the interesting people we met here, the new connections and all the professionals.

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Kenta Matsushige

Who are you? Your age, your origin, your background, type of collection?
My name is Kenta Matsushige, I’m 25 years old, I’m from Yamaguchi in Japan. I studied fashion 2 years in Osaka and 2 years in Paris. Now I working as a freelance designer and modelist (pattern maker) in Paris. My collection is a womenswear collection.

How would you describe Hyères in three words?
Nature, meeting people, collaborations.

What has been your favorite part of the process so far?
All the process is really important for me, to create my own universe and work on volumes, fabrics, and find technical details or construction.

What is your collection about? Your inspiration and starting point and how it has evolved in the process?
My collection was inspired by minimal structure, nature serenity, and traditional elements. I tried to find a balance between their confrontations.

In what ways you think participating in a Festival like Hyères will help you in the future?

Hyeres gives me opportunities to collaborate with professionals and meet people who understand me and help me to create my universe. It will help me to create my own brand in the future.

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Yulia Yefimtchuk

 

 


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#AllEyesOnHyeres2014: Interviews with Photographers in Competition

April 25th, 2014

By the time the Hyères Festival opened to the public today, Friday, April 25, more than 100 exchanges had already been had between the competing photographers and the established members of the photo jury. Brought together in the Cubist Garden at Villa Noailles—a Modernist masterpiece built by architect Robert Mallet Stevens in the hills above the village—each candidate met individually with every member of the panel, overseen by renowned fashion photographer Steve Hiett and assembled very much in his image: eclectic, open, progressive.

The Stimlueye took some time to speak with each of the competing photographers about their work and background.

All Photos by Filep Motwary

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ARNAUD LAJEUNIE, 27, FRANCE

Who are you? 

My name is Arnaud Lajeunie, I am 27, from France. I have a MA in Political Sciences (SciencesPo, Paris) and a BA in Photography (Les Gobelins, Paris)

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

Some contemporary writers (Deleuze, Maldiney)
Painting (Cézanne, El Greco, Klee, Cy Twombly)
Music also played a rather significant role too, (Steve Reich, Gustav Mahler, Jean Sibelius, french rap and german electronic music)

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

Water meets colour, colour meets water is a project I started in 2011, when fascinated by the waves-rocks contact. I desired to overcome the mere spectator status and to engage nature. The colors came rather naturally, and after some research about the products I could use, I finally opted for food colorants. The introduction of colour serves different purposes: it thickens the transparent water, add density and then enables short-term sculptures that alter the viewers perception and understanding of the scene. But, more significant for me, the colour modulates the landscape and create the inner rhythm of the image. This notion of rhythm is crucial as the latter conveys sensations, which, in return raises questions. The images provide no straightforward interpretation and therefore offer a space for imagination, sensation and questioning. I feel there is a contemporary relevance to create area that contest this desire to render decipherable the physical space in which we live.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

Water meets colour, colour meets water adresses the recurrent idea of engaging nature through artificial devices, in order to modulate and then blur the initial understanding of the depicted landscapes. Through this collision between natural fluxes and man-made inputs I seek rhythms, that will generate sensations and, in a second moment, raises critical questions (notably about the issue of control and failure). However, the aesthetic sensation remains compulsory, I think, as it paves the way to a sort of “mental space” where these questions can blossom.

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ANNA GRZELEWSKA, 38, POLAND

Who are you? 

My name is Anna Grzelewska. I am 38 years old. I’m from Poland. I studied anthropology of culture, documentary directing and photography.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I was always inspired by women that were photographers. First of my authorities was Julia Cameron, then Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin and recently Cindy Sherman. Not only their work but also their lives, their sensitivity. Also cinema and theatre had a huge influence on my work.  I explore  the line between true and fiction, reality and creation.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

Julia wannabe project is searching for woman’s identity. It tells about maturation of the girl, my daughter Julia. About this ambiguous and mysterious period of time. Photographing Julia I discovered the transfer process. My childhood mix with hers and hidden, never expressed emotions revive. In that sense this is my self-portrait.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

Julia wannabe is a long term project.  Among others, this one is special. It’s about my identity my daughter, about myself. It is not finish yet. I will continue it.

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OSMA HARVILAHTI, FINLAND

Who are you? 

My name is Osma Harvilahti and I was born in Helsinki. My work is based on traveling and exploring different cultures through documenting and a certain visual philosophy and rules that I set to myself. Currently I’m spending about a third of each year traveling and shooting material for books and other personal projects. My background is in social sciences and still the most common motive behind my photography is social. The body of work that I’m showing at Hyères this year is titled as “New Colour”, simply because one of the dominant themes in my work is the use of colour and because it’s “new” as it’s shot during the past 15 months and within a period of 3 months.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

One of the greatest motives behind my work is the challenge of transforming my aesthetic to resonate between different cultures. The work is mainly build on very formal qualities such as combinations of colour, material and other abstract elements but on the other hand I’m always aiming to tell stories through abstract visual narratives.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

The body of work that is on show at Hyères is an edition of photographs from my first monograph that got published in 2013. It reveals the sometimes abstract and largely visual philosophy behind my work and shows some of my favourite pieces I was able to produce last year. During the festival I will also show a new body of work in forms of a presentation and a print portfolio.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

It’s very important that the image I produce feels honest and unpretentious. Simply put, I’m always aiming to produce work that feels “real” and looks beautiful. One of the qualities I’m constantly aiming towards is that I could create a sort of a continuum and a connection between my older work and the new work, so that the photographs relate and resonate between each other and most importantly become part of something larger rather than just a body of work that get’s forgotten when something new appears. I’m hoping that the new work that I will be producing in japan and China this year will connect and respond to some questions I created last year at very different cultures and locations.

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ORIANNE LOPES, 25, FRANCE

Who are you? 

My name is Orianne Lopes, I’m 25 years old, I was born in France (Lyon) but my parents are Portuguese. I have been studying at ECAL (École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne) in Switzerland where I’m living now.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I was inspired by all the myth about the Venus and feminist preoccupations in all ages but also by the artists who had worked on these subjects. For this work precisely, I have been influenced by famous figures like the black Venus, Josephine Baker, Grace Jones…

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

I would describe it as a totally uninhibited and visual feeling about the black female body in the western culture and the clichés which are linked to. In a more larger view it’s a photographic work about the image of the feminine ideal.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

I have always been treating of femininity and body in my practice in different ways and with different use of the photographic medium.

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BIRTHE PIONTEK, GERMANY

Who are you? 

My name is Birthe Piontek. I am originally from Germany but currently based in Vancouver, Canada. I moved there in 2005, after graduating from the University of Essen, where I did my Masters in Communications Design and Photography. Since then I have been working as a photographer for various magazines i.e. New York Times Magazine, Le Monde, Esquire etc. while also pursuing my own artistic projects.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I’ve always been very interested in portraiture and the different ways of how people’s identities are displayed. In the beginning I looked a lot at classical portrait painting from the Renaissance or the Dutch masters. I was also inspired by  a certain cinematic style that you can find in movies of David Lynch.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

The work I am presenting at Hyeres is a continuation of my exploration of the idea of an image representing a person. With the work Mimesis I create a fictional world of representation that mediates our relationship to reality. I appropriate, change and reinterpret the original found images, in an effort to invite the viewer to look beyond the surface.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

I’m interested in portraiture and see my camera as a tool to investigate the question of identity. While in the past I worked in a more traditional way of portraiture, I am now more curious to include other art forms such as installation and sculpture in my practice.

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VIRGINIE REBETEZ, 35, SWITZERLAND

Who are you? 

My name is Virginie Rebetez. I am freshly 35 and I come from Switzerland. I studied Photography first at the Photography School of Vevey, in Switzerland, then I went to Amsterdam to do the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, from which I graduated in 2008. I am living now in Lausanne (CH), after having spent 7 years in Amsterdam.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I am interested in photographic works having a real reflection on the Photography medium. I am a fan of Taryn Simon, for instance. But I can get inspiration to start a new project from many different things: People I meet, “faits divers” in the newspaper, movies or books (the description of “the psycho-magic acts” from Alejandro Jodorowski for example.)

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

The work I am presenting at Hyères is called «Under Cover». The serie counts 13 photographs (5 presented in the festival) and was made last year in the biggest cemetery of Soweto (South Africa). I photographed the tombstones which are covered with different materials (blankets, plastic..) and so are masking the identity of the deceased. This practice is part of the funeral ritual. When the tombstone is placed, after the funeral, the family covers it immediately. The tombstone will stay in this state until the “unveiling ceremony”, a big ceremony not to honor the life on earth of the deceased anymore, as the funeral, but to celebrate his life after death. This covering period can go from weeks to years.

I decided to photograph them in front of a black background to put them out of their context and so giving them a new status, a new identity. They become then statues, totems, silenced characters, or monuments waiting to be revealed to the public. Of course, the action of ‘unveiling’ is quite symbolic…

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

All my works are closely related and follow the same research, the same interest for the invisible, the invisible world, the traces left after a disappearance, after death. I like to reactivate something dying or already dead in creating something new out of it, as an attempt to stop the final closure. I am interested in questioning our concepts of identity, memory both individual and collective as well as the medium of Photography itself.

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MARIE RIME, 24, SWITZERLAND

Who are you? 

My name is Marie Rime. I am 24 years old and come from Switzerland. I am actually finishing my BA in Photography at the Ecal in Lausanne.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

What inspires me the most is the place I come from, Switzerland. I have been raised and I still live there, so its culture, traditions, news and problems are part of who I am today.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

I am presenting two different series at the festival : Armures and Pharma. Armures is a series representing seven pictures of women wearing armors that I created myself with household objects. Pharma is a reflection about the power of pharmaceutical industry and the ambiguity of its role, attractive but necessary.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

The two series have a very different esthetic but they both refer to the general idea of power and its ambiguity and attractiveness.

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MARLEEN SLEEUWITS, 33, NETHERLANDS

Who are you? 

My name is Marleen Sleeuwits and I am 33 years old. I was born in the east of Holland where I grew up in a small village. At age 17 I moved to The Hague where I studied photography at the Royal Academy of Art. After graduation I worked two years as a commercial photographer but this didn’t feel like it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I started the MA in Breda to find out about my own fascinations and how to work on my own projects. With my photoworks I explore places with which it seems you are unable to make any connection. I construct and deform spaces in empty office buildings until an image comes into being that conveys this experience.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I like wandering through cities I haven’t been before but mostly I am inspired by the buildings where I temporarily work. These are office blocks from the 70’s. Their interiors are filled with cheap short lived materials such as laminate flooring, self-adhesive wall tiles. It’s fascinating for me that these materials are like a shell that holds no memory and can be changed every few years.
Also I’m very interested in photographers who search for the boundaries in photography. In The Netherlands there are quite a lot of young photographers who make great work and experiment with the medium, combining photography with video, sculpture and installations.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

The four photo’s shown in Hyeres are an overview of the works I made in the last three years. Their all interiors I have constructed in empty office buildings. It is unclear what their function is, where they are and what time of day they were photographed. They almost appear to be situated beyond consciousness. The feeling of estrangement and detachment is at the heart of my work. I try to capture the experience of being disconnected from a physical space by almost inviting the viewer to step inside the picture and relate physically to what is portrayed there. Print size and sharpness are therefore of essential importance. In Interiors I play with scale, perception, and the tension between reality and illusion.

4. How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

For a long time my work was focused on generic urban spaces such as the empty corners of office blocks, waiting areas at airports or the deserted corridors of hotels. Interiors where we often find ourselves but are shut off, as it were, from our consciousness. Previously I searched for and photographed a portrayal of such places; three years ago, in order to delve deeper into the experience of these locations, I have began to intervene with such like interiors. These transformations mostly resemble temporary installations or sculptures and make the experience of disconnection transmissible on a more psychological level. The four photo’s shown here can be seen as a small overview of this last period.

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CHARLOTTE TANGUY, 35, FRANCE

Who are you? 

My name is Charlotte Tanguy, I am 35 and come from France. I actually studied drawing and illustration. I am self-taught in photography, it came later: five years ago.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

I was interested in a cinematic way of sequencing. Cinema and literature influence my work, but also dance, scientific essays etc.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

It is a vivid sequence and experience. I put myself in a situation that creates distance between me and my surroundings, and at the same time it makes elementary forms visible.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

This series is the continuity of my previous work, which ended on an inability to read and understand my surroundings, it became my statement.

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LORENZO VITTURI, ITALY

Who are you? 

My name is Lorenzo Vitturi, and I am a Venetian photographer living and working in London.
I studied design and photography, and I started to work as a set designer in the film industry in Rome. I then I brought all this experience into my photography practice which revolves around playful site-specific interventions at the intersection of photography, sculpture and performance.

What forces, cultural or otherwise, have influenced your work?

The main force that influences my work everyday is my passion for light, colour and form.
Culturally I’ve been mostly influenced by my hometown Venice and it’s melancholic beauty.
Venice influenced the way I looked at the world, my experiences and expectations.  My memories are suprasensorial, and I’ve searched for ways to harness this, and translate it into photographs – to disregard it’s perceived intangibility, to manipulate space and the space of the image, and evoke smell in colour and memory in transforming forms and materials.

How would you describe the body of work that you’re presenting at Hyeres?

Here at Hyeres I am presenting a brief selection of my latest project, Dalston Anatomy, which is a book about the Ridley Road Market in Dalston– a unique place in London that is maintaining its authenticity in spite of a surrounding gentrification process. Its community represents perfectly the multicultural nature of Hackney and East London.

During the last year I have been taking pictures, making sculptures and collages with all sort of material I have been finding along the street of the market.

How does this specific suite of images relate to your larger practice?

My larger practice is a continuous dialogue between photography and sculpture. For this reason, in order to make the most of the space I had available here in Hyeres I chosen to present the suite of images as a site-specific installation using different kind of materials coming from my studio in London.


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#AllEyesOnHyeres: Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of KENZO, presidents of the fashion jury

April 14th, 2014

American designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim surged into the global spotlight in 2002, as the co-founders of New York City’s preeminent boutique, Opening Ceremony. With its keenly curated selection of luxury brands, the shop quickly attracted the attention of the fashion world at large, and in July 2011, Leon and Lim were appointed as the creative directors of Parisian label KENZO.

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Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, by Filep Motwary.

The strong friendship shared by this creative duo dates back to their years at UC Berkeley in California, where they met as students in early 2000. After a decade of successful project launches and hotly anticipated collaborations with other labels and designers, they continue to challenge fashion habits and to conceive new methods of design.

Today, both are enthralled by the KENZO spirit, which they perceive as a lifestyle all its own, and the label is shaped by the singular creativity born of their partnership. The originality and diversity of patterns and prints, the bright colours, music and rhythms of disparate cultures from around the world are all inspirations behind KENZO’s revival: under the guidance of Leon and Lim, it strives to achieve a universality which will seduce men and women of all ages.

Fashion has been a catalyst and playground for socio-cultural movements. Today’s trends are tracked from street to runway and back again at such speed that subcultures can barely exist beyond the brands. In what way do you feel today’s fashion is relevant?

Fashion has and always will be one of the easiest ways people can express themselves. We love drawing inspiration from everything around us: culture, art, music, food, travel, and from seeing what people are wearing on the streets. Today’s fashion, the product of a more connected world, is extremely relevant for what KENZO stands for today. That connectivity is what brings people together: streetwear melding with tailoring, night and day, comfort and style. All of these elements and more make fashion right now an extremely exciting place to be.

Do you think that something originally pegged as a luxury fashion brand could evolve into something that ends up being a mainstream feature? Is it a good thing being mainstream or not?

What some people seem to forget is that KENZO as a brand was never intended to be “luxury.” Kenzo Takada, when he founded the brand, dreamt of creating collections accessible to the street. We feel that mainstream isn’t a negative word and that mainstream fashion can still be heavily design oriented. KENZO has always been democratic, and since joining the company in 2011, we wanted people to remember this. Mainstream usually means something collectively appreciated and that is something we like to celebrate. We would love for KENZO to be a household name around the world.

Carol

Carol Lim, by The Stimuleye.

Do you think it’s always advisable for designers to be very visible, seemingly available to and engaged with their audience? Should relatability, especially in this age of social media and hyper connectivity, always be a goal? How should a designer understand himself or herself in relation to the consumer?

It really depends on the brand. For us at KENZO we love engaging with the customer because that is where you see if your collections are something people will want to buy and wear. We want people to understand who we are as a company, and in order to do that, we have to understand who they are as clients. Social media gives us a direct link to our customers and we love being able to have a dialogue with them. They can ask questions, discover more about our world and become a part of the KENZO community.

Humberto

Humberto Leon, by The Stimuleye.

You’re surrounded by collaborators coming from very different directions. For KENZO, how important is the idea of “family,” and the creative exchange with its members?

It’s super important for us. Both at KENZO and Opening Ceremony we work with our friends. It creates an open dialogue and brings out the best ideas. Working with collaborators such as Spike Jonze or Chloe Sevigny, people we have known for such a long time, is a joy. It’s important to love what you do, and what could be better than brainstorming or working on projects with people you admire and respect on both a personal and professional level?

Talent is an obvious thing to look for in a contestant, but what other qualities do you think will be important to look for in a designer, right now, in 2014?

We will look for a strong point of view as well as for someone who understands the importance of the whole process of design. It is important to be able to understand the business aspects as well as all the creative ones. Also, we will look for someone who has both drive and a sense of humility.

What is the last thing you saw, read, heard or felt that stimulated you?

Carol: Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, an animated film by Miyazaki.

Humberto: Seeing The XX perform an 40 person intimate show in New York.

NOTE: Interview questions were put together by this year’s Hyères Festival Blog Partners:
Malibongwe Tyilo, Filep Motwary, Branko Popovic, The Stimuleye, Sean Santiago, The Kinsky.

Hyères International Fashion & Photography Festival 2014
Villa Noailles
April 25th – 28th, 2014


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#AllEyesOnHyeres: Steve Hiett, president of the photo jury

April 14th, 2014

Steve Hiett pursued a Masters Degree from the Royal College of Art Graphic Design before his Swinging London years, which saw him travelling the world as the lead guitarist of Britain’s psych/pop group The Pyramid.

But it was not until an unfortunate accident on stage deprived him temporarily of his Fender—namely, electrocution from an ungrounded microphone—that he turned back toward his roots in the visual arts, and picked up a camera. Initially documenting his own group while on tour, he was soon photographing the international rock scene at large.

Steve Hiett, by The Stimuleye.

Steve Hiett, by The Stimuleye.

Over the past four decades, Hiett has pioneered a signature style that has become instrumental to the global world of fashion photography. Favoringover-saturated images, off-centre framing, unconventional compositions, and dazzling flash work, his work has been featured regularly in renowned magazines worldwide—from Nova and Queen to British Vogue, Vogue Paris, Elle, and Marie Claire.

The Hyères festival 2014 will present the first major exhibition of Hiett’s oeuvre, emphasizing the unsung aspects of his images and re-establishing him as a figurehead in the history of contemporary photography.

Steve Hiett lives in Paris, where he continues to work as a photographer for renowned fashion publications (notably for Vogue Italy), as well as a musician, graphic designer, and art director.

What was the process behind selecting the images for your exhibition at Hyeres? What will the visitors see?

Steve Hiett: Raphaëlle Stopin came to my place and looked through everything I could find. She selected the images.

Steve Hiett, Vogue, 1979.

Steve Hiett, Vogue, 1979.

You didn’t plan to become a photographer, and it seems that your early photography was informed by your circumstances while you were on tour. Considering how digital and technological developments throughout media have changed the landscape of photography, what kind of career path do you think you would find yourself upon if you were only beginning your career in the present day? How would a young Steve Hiett go about his business in 2014?

SH: Starting today? I have no idea. Fashion photography is such a complex thing now; lots of politics and all the digital processes, which makes doing a photo so long and complicated. When I started, you just walked into a magazine and the art director would give you a job. I don’t think you can do that now. Also, to take a photo, you took a light reading, pressed the button and that was it; what you got back from the lab was it—end of story. Now you are dealing with all sorts of choices and the new world of retouching, which can go on for days. I worked for 30 years and never retouched anything. It never entered my head (or any other fashion photographer) as even a possibility.

steve_hiett-3

Steve Hiett, 1979.

Looking back over your career as fashion photographer, is there a certain period in time that stands out for you in particular?

SH:Starting. I knew nothing, but it didn’t matter.

Having worked through the last few decades of fashion photography, what kinds of major aesthetic shifts have you noticed?

SH: Now the boss is the fashion editor. They decide who works and who doesn’t, but before it was the art director.

Steve Hiett, 1979.

Steve Hiett, 1979.

There is always some sort of tension in your photography. How do you achieve it?

SH: Tension in my pictures? That must be subconscious: I never look for tension. I look for the right feeling.

What is the last thing that stimulated you?

SH:The last thing that stimulated me? Steve Cropper’s guitar solo on “Green Onions,” which I have listened to 1000 times. I listened to it again last night; still has that magic. OK, I know the notes he plays, but it goes way beyond that—it’s a magic thing.

NOTE: Interview questions were put together by this year’s Hyères Festival Blog Partners:
Malibongwe Tyilo, Filep Motwary, Branko Popovic, The Stimuleye, Sean Santiago, The Kinsky.

Hyères International Fashion & Photography Festival 2014
Villa Noailles
April 25th – 28th, 2014


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