Back in Antwerp! After twelve wonderful days in Hyères and an 11 hours car ride we arrived back in Belgium at 06:00 on Tuesday morning. Even though we returned empty handed, we had a wonderful time and I only have amazing memories of our stay. Here’s a recap.
I left for Hyères at 06:00 on April 17, 2013 together with my assistant Géraldine Barton and we shared a van with another finalist, Yvonne Kwok and her assistant Chi Gar Fung. Yvonne won the Palais de Tokio award, so the car wasn’t completely ripped of trofees when we crossed the Belgian border.
After a few wrong turns, some missed exits and 15 long hours in a van, we arrived safely in Hyères. The first week was just beautiful. #sunny #23degrees #diorhommesandals #shorts #tanktop #justsaying
The first few days all the finalists and assistants worked on finishing their collections or presentations and since I’m slightly obsessed with handwork and I was juggling two jobs on top of the Hyères preparations, we still had some (aka a lot) of hand sewing to finish on the inside of the bodywear collection I to compliment my collection.
Géraldine and I decided to turn our hotel room into an atelier and it worked pretty well! I think we ended up spending most of our time in our hotel room, so unfortunately we weren’t the most social ones in the beginning, but at least we got to see the others during lunch at the beautiful Villa Noailles. Built in 1923, the villa sits on top of a mountain overlooking the city of Hyères - literally the greatest view in town. It’s one of the first modernist buildings in France and it’s such an iconic building with just as amazing history. Click here to read more about it.Has to be experienced!
On April 19, 2013 we had our first appointment with Maida Gregori Boina and her team. Maida is one of the most respected and sought after casting directors in the world and it was amazing to work with her. On Friday we presented our collection, arranged the running order and checked the styling of the collection. The triple sole Wulfrun creepers I designed for Underground Shoes arrived JUST in time for the meeting and I had them in my hands literally 5 minutes before I entered La Salle Familia!
On Saturday we went to Les Pesquiers to see the show venue for the first time and we rehearsed the choreography to our music. Most of the massive chandeliers that made up the decor of the runway were still in boxes, but it already looked very impressive!
On Monday we had our first fitting with a model to check fit, assign models to each look and to make sure the running order was ok. It was pretty hectic, so I only managed to snap two pictures, but luckily everything fit sweet Tyna Tomanova perfectly.
On Tuesday we met with the light and scenography crew and we decided on the look of our shows. Since mymusic is light and it builds up slowly, we decided on a rather strong look of the show to get a contrast to the music.
On Wednesday we had the final fitting of our collections with all the models at Les Pesquiers and we rehearsed the full show with the models wearing the shoes of the collection. So nice to see!!
My appointment was originally at 17:45, but I think we only left Les Pesquiers at around midnight that night. Fashionably late.
On Thursday we had a jury rehearsal and practiced our choreography for the presentation and tried explaining our collection to Maida, Laure and Julie. After the rehearsal at Villa Noailles we went back to Les Pesquiers and did the fitting of our silhouettes for the Chloé award and we checked our hair and makeup. The Chloé silhouette looked super cute on the Czech beauty Margita, so I was very happy to see the whole lineup!
After the fitting a BIG ass paella was waiting for us #justsaying
After dinner we continued with hair and makeup together with the L’Oreal team. We decided on a nude and fresh-faced makeup with glossy lips and bushy brows. Since the clothes are quite rigid we wanted to keep the hair loose in the front to get some movement, but we braided it a bit nonchalanty mediaval in the back. Looked amazing!
The big day
Finally Friday 26th! We all met in Villa Noailles at 08:45 and the jury arrived at 10:00. The president of the jury this year was Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who won the competition back in 2002. The rest of the jury consisted of big industry names like Mark Holgate, fashion news director of Vogue US; Floriane de Saint Pierre, CEO of Floriane de Saint-Pierre & Associés Paris; Imran Amed, editor-in-chief The Business of Fashion; Paula Reed, fashion director Harvey Nichols; Delphine Roche, associate editor- in-chief Numéro; Maurice Scheltens, photographer; Liesbeth Abbenes, Photographer and Barbara Coutinho, director of MUDE Lisbon.
It was such an honour to get the chance to meet all of these people and to be able to present my work to them. Remembering everything you want to tell them is something else of course.. The list is THIS long, but usually only 1/3 comes out and you tend to leave out the most important things. At least I do.
After presenting the collection we showed a selection of the nude coloured body wear collection tailored for each look. Since the inspiration for the collection was mediaval armour I drew inspiration from stained glass to create the bodywear. We developed our own bonded jerseys and cross bonded mesh (courtesy of Basten Basstanie) and we connected all the different parts with black velvet ribbons and TONS of hand sewing. As usual.
After the jury presentation we went to the see the press and presented the collection again in front of an audience of international journalists. It’s always easier to present things a second time, so even though there were twice as many people in a room half the size, it went kind of ok. I guess.
After all the finalists had presented their collections and we had a beautiful lunch on the roof of Villa Noailles, we presented our Chloé look for the jury. First we sent in all the looks with all the designers following and then we did a short presentation one by one with all the looks present. What a difference in style! 10 completely different looks for Chloé.
After Chloé we packed all our collections up in boxes and headed directly to Les Pesquiers for the first show of the weekend! #sobloodyexciting!!!
I was number two in the running order, both for the jury and the show, after Marion de Raucourt, and honestly it’s very nice. In a snap it’s over and I can relax again. After spending four years at the Academy shows in Antwerp I’m pretty used to these hectic shows, but I have to say it went pretty smoothly in Hyères. It’s a great production!
After all the collections of this year’s finalists and the returning winners of last year, Finnish trio Elina Laitinen, Siiri Raasakka and Tiia Siren, and the Estonian Ragne Kikas, were shown it was time for the Chloé looks.
After Chloé everyone ran on stage for the finale! 1 day down, 2 to go!!
On Saturday we set up our showroom, which ran until Sunday, and it was a great opportunity to get to talk to each of the jury members up close.
The showroom is also open to the public, so at times it was pretty hard to be able to talk to people one-on-one, but hopefully I got to talk to everyone.
I met a lot of great industry people from all over the world and I received lots of amazing feedback, so hopefully it will lead to something.
Hyères for me is about being noticed and eventually (and hopefully) about opening doors, so fingers crossed I say!