The Belgian designer Tom van der Borght scooped up the Première Vision Grand Prix at the 35th Festival d’Hyères today. His jubilant, theatrical men’s collection was praised by designer Jonathan Anderson, who presided over a jury that included, among others, consultant Amanda Harlech, model Kaia Gerber, sound maverick Michel Gaubert, photographer Tyler Mitchell, and last year’s Grand Prix winner, the Austrian designer Christoph Rumpf.
“What we really, really admired in the work of Tom van der Borght is that it was a totally new type of form, new type of shape, new type of commitment to a silhouette, and it was uncompromising,” Anderson said during a remote award ceremony. “And in this moment we are in, we as a jury believe that it was about starting this new decade with newness, this idea of originality.” Anderson continued: “It was not about looking at something for its automatic commercial sense. It was about the beauty within fashion, the handmade, the technique, and the risk in it. And I think Tom has really achieved something in what he has done and I think he will go on to do very well.”
Even seen via video, van der Borght’s collection had an uncanny glamour. Named “Seven Ways to be TVDB,” it was a densely embroidered and intarsia-ed tour de force, made from recycled climbing ropes, sequins, prints-on-polyester 3D space mesh, plastic leftovers, braided elastic, and plexitube weaving. The 42-year-old Van der Borght namechecked Björk in his press notes (alongside the visionary and performative designers Iris van Herpen, Craig Green, Viktor & Rolf, and Walter von Beirendonck), and any one of his concoctions would make a perfect stage costume for her.
The Grand Prix of the Jury Première Vision includes a €20,000 award, a collaborative project with the Chanel Métiers d’Art worth up to €20,000, and a fashion show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. The Belgian designer’s work also appealed to the people of Hyères. They granted him their Public Prize.
A focus on craft and on the handmade, organic quality of execution in French designer Emma Bruschi’s work earned her the Chanel Métiers d’Art Prize. Bruschi collaborated with plumassier et parurier floral Lemarié to create a pair of whimsical earrings, which looked not unlike Native American dream catchers. “We were really taken aback by the workmanship [of Emma’s] earrings; they were fantastic,” said Anderson in his appraisal. “A really beautiful balance between wearable art and… the idea of generational information passing by—and we all wanted them.” Bruschi will be granted €20,000 by Chanel for the realization of a new design project, to be displayed at next year’s festival. Additionally, she received the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Grant for her men’s collection, Almanach, which acknowledged her work incorporating responsible and sustainable practices into the line. Guadeloupe’s Marvin M’Toumo, a graduate of HEAD Geneva Fashion School, was awarded the €20,000 Chloé Prize for reinterpreting the feminine silhouette of the brand in a shell-white three-piece pleated ensemble.
This year Paolo Roversi presided over Hyère’s photography jury, which in partnership with Chanel awarded a €20,000 grant to the Chinese-American photographer Guanyu Xu. “It was difficult to choose among so many talented photographers, but in the end the jury felt that Guanyu Xu’s work was the most relevant,” said Roversi, who likewise deliberated remotely from Paris. “His temporary photographic installations at his childhood home are an exploration of identity and a subversion of power structures that also reflect on the tremendous influence of images in shaping our public persona and our deepest desires. By reclaiming a space that has both formed and repressed him, Xu knowingly uses photography as a tool of resistance, creating his own reality and stating his freedom through art.”
The Hungarian photographer András Ladocsi was awarded the American Vintage Photography Prize, a grant of €15,000 to produce a fashion photoshoot. “Under András’s gaze,” said Roversi, “bodies and objects merge with the very material of photography—light. His mastery in the use of that very light makes each of his images a small treatise on poetics. The jury decided to give him the possibility of applying his aesthetics to the eclectic reality of fashion.”
The festival’s fashion accessories jury granted its Grand Prix to the French designers Ddiddue and Juana Etcheberry for their hat project, Reincarnation. They will also work on a collaborative project worth up to €20,000 with Chanel Métiers d’Art. The duo also received the Hermès Fashion Accessories Prize, a sum of €20,000 for the creation of a leather accessory piece.
The Festival d’Hyères, which turned 35th this year, took the restrictions of the pandemic rather gracefully. Even if it had been posponed from April to October, and the attendance had to be considerably reduced due to travel and safety restrictions (many attendees and editors had to follow the festival remotely, including this writer), spirits were high. “we obviously had to approach the festival in a different way than expected,” said Jean-Pierre Blanc, the festival’s founder. However, we have maintained the designers’ selection at the highest level. This was our priority, it hasn’t changed and that’s what counts.”