Words by Nina Van Volkinburg
It was Vanessa Schindler who won this year’s prestigious Première Vision Grand Prize as well as the Public and City of Hyères Award. Schindler, a graduate from the Geneva University of Art and Design, experimented with alternative textiles and materials such as the liquid polymer urethane. When mixed with textile fibres, the urethane brings shiny, molten results, with no need for stitching. I found this mix of materials especially exciting – being very soft, oily, slimy, sticky and hence quite carnal and raw to the senses. She explains her work is about “frozen liquidity,” which aids in creating new conceptions and constructions of clothes. The silhouettes are sophisticated and ooze luxury, with some parallels with Vetements Spring 2016 collection (such as the velour purple dress).
Vanessa Schindler (I rated a 3.5/5)
Gesine Försterling delivered an exceptional menswear collection which played off the notion that a man is defined by his profession, often interpreted by the clothes he is wearing. Today, one can’t just guess someone’s profession by their clothes, as being out of work is just as likely. Thus, Försterling argues fashion codes are no longer professional reference points and has chosen to blur uniforms to adapt to this new economic environment. Försterling reinterpreted traditional workers’ clothes of aprons, dungarees, shirt fronts and suit jackets as well as classical work fabrics — denim, twill, thick cotton toile, wool broadcloth — and reassigned them to unexpected items using handmade and industrial methods.
Her careful embroidery of pearls, sequins, and threads added embellishment to these fabrics and blurred the lines between masculine, feminine and high low. Each silhouette – some resembling ponchos, some Arabian thawbs – helps man escapes from all stereotypes, even with truly beautiful clothes. I am glad Försterling won the €15,000 Chloé Prize and look forward to her work in the future.
Gesine Försterling (I ranked a 4/5)
Maria Korkeila also presented a rich menswear collection with great detail and embroidery as well as Schiaparelli approved trompe l’oeil. Her psychedelic collection was drawn from flirtatious icons of the 1970s resulting in an atmosphere which was funky, a bit rock and roll and plain fun. Provocative imagery (typical Playboy imagery) was plastered upon the chests of the male models, all swatches of dated (but feel good) colours of golden yellows, tea browns, and chocolates.
The models wore skin tight sweaters decorated with images of female busts in jacquard sewn onto tulle fabric which revealed their own masculine anatomy. These improper images (one probably wouldn’t wear this to a dinner at your girlfriend’s parent’s house for dinner) are in some shape or form part of each piece, partially hiding the wearer’s flesh, thanks to layers of orange plastic. Korkeila places this “cheesy” hyper sexualised imagery upon male billboards, who essentially become the prop for their very own fantasies.
Maria Korkeila (I ranked a 3.95/5)
The influences of Balenciaga and Vetements were running inspirations through all of the finalists work. Jaquemus also seemed to be a reference point for the New Zealand designer Herminone Flyn who also reinterpreted work wear and suits for an avant grade approach. Flyn offered a classic trench (within a trench, within a trench) which was immaculately tailored and looked worthy for a Margiela runway. Another stand out piece was the technicolor dream coat by Danial Aitouganov. An overarching theme linking the collections together would be careful deconstruction and repurposing classic pieces such as suits, shirts, jackets into something new.
Wataru Tominaga winner of last year’s Grand Prix du jury Première Vision 2016 closed the fashion show with his second collection, created with the help of Chanel Métiers d’Art: Lesage Embroideries and Lognon Plissés. Thanks to loud colours and daisy motifs I believe Tominaga presented the perfect finale as it embraced the spirit of youth- which in itself invites elements of naivety, optimism, energy, and bright eyed wonder. The neon colour palate brought a zap of energy and emphasised the quest for the new and fresh. Tominaga incorporated tassels and climbing rope most commonly used for hiking journeys, onto kilts and sweatshirts, bringing about a sense of adventure.
Here’s to all Hyères Finalists climbing onwards and upwards: Embrace the ride kids
… and congratulations on BRILLIANT WORK! *Standing Ovation*