Excitement is building around the 32nd edition of the world’s oldest and most important platform for early-career designers: The International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères. Founded by Jean-Pierre Blanc in 1986, the contest takes place every year at the Villa Noailles, built by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens in the late 1920s on the hills above the city of Hyères on France’s stunning Côte d’Azur.
The latest news is the inspired appointment of footwear designer Pierre Hardy to chair the jury of the first-ever Swarovski Fashion Accessories Prize, worth €15.000. Hardy’s career has been stellar. Originally educated in fine art at France’s prestigious École Normale Supérieure (during which time he also studied contemporary dance), he first earned a living doing fashion illustrations for Vanity Fair and Vogue Hommes International. But it was an early job assisting a shoe designer that kicked-started his journey to the top. In 1988, he joined the bastion of French couture, Christian Dior, and was also invited by Hermès to design its women’s, then its men’s footwear collections. In 2001, Nicolas Ghesquière invited him to work his shoe magic at Balenciaga. A year later came the Creative Directorship for the Hermès Fine Jewelry division. He even did a stint at Festival de Hyères as fashion show artistic director from 1994-97! It all adds up to make him the natural choice for this new role.
Pierre Hardy’s fellow jury members are:
- Laure Hériard-Dubreuil (founder and director, The Webster, Miami)
- Laurence Reulet (Director of Jewelry, Hermès, Paris)
- Alexandra Golovanoff (journalist and fashion designer, Paris)
- Philippe Jarrigeon (photographer, Paris)
- Géraldine Sarratia (editor-in-chief, Les Inrockuptibles, Paris)
- Isabelle Kontoure (fashion editor, Wallpaper, London)
- Samira Nasr (fashion editor, ELLE US, New York)
- Michael Amzalag (graphic designer, M/M (Paris), Paris).
Portrait by Nicolas Ouchenir