Jury Of Wisdom

  • Although the 28th Hyères Festival has drawn to a close, we thought the jury’s advice particularly pertinent, and as such wanted to share this advice with our readers.
    The Festival of Fashion and Photography at Hyères, Southern France, has been attracting creative talents from many professions - from museum directors, artists, designers, musicians, stylists, buyers and omnipresent trend-watchers. This year, the jury panels of both the fashion and photography competitions consisted of a number of well-respected pillars from a host of creative professions.

    JOYCE asked them to share their insights on what makes a special talent – a talent which has longevity, which sets him or her apart from their peers.

    “I think the main thing that we are looking for is individuality, creativity and personal statement. Today, we tend to expect designers to talk about how to sell his clothes, to be a business manager, but above all, talent is where it starts. Because without talent, there isn’t a fashion designer, or a fashion house.” Felipe Oliveira Baptista

    The words that were imparted gave depth to what can be considered a highly subjective topic. As such we have tried to edit and condense these words of wisdom, and hope they help the reader gain context – or at any rate provide some gravity well on which to test their assumptions on calibrating what makes a special talent.

    First of all, the most and foremost keyword that the jury collectively were unanimous on was “creativity”. It seems to be an obvious common foundation stone, but each jury member explained in his or her own words, their take on what this consists of:

    “I think the main thing that we are looking for is individuality, creativity and personal statement. Today, we tend to expect designers to talk about how to sell his clothes, to be a business manager, but above all, talent is where it starts. Because without talent, there isn’t a fashion designer, or a fashion house.”

    Felipe Oliveira Baptista, fashion designer and “chair” of this year’s jury.


    “What makes Hyères special is the fact that it has been going on for so long. It has a long- term commitment to young designers and talents from all across the world. You see designers from China, Finland, Russia and Latvia. You have to judge each designer on his own individual merits. The only benchmark that you can use is imagination and creativity.”

    Mark Holgate, fashion news director, Vogue US.


    “I look at what makes them different, what makes them new, what makes them have their own personality, integrity in their design.”

    Floriane de Saint Pierre, the “go-to” head-hunter of big fashion houses, CEO of Floriane de Saint Pierre & Associés.


    Of course, it helps if you have some savvy business knowledge once you find your design direction, as having a creative idea will never unfortunately reach the market unless it’s allied with the facets of today’s commercial organisations.

    “It’s fun to be at Hyères because everybody is happy to be here. We take things seriously while still feel relaxing so that’s good. What impresses me this year is that there was this Chinese girl who is already really thinking about how she can make a commercial collection.”

    Delphine Roche, associate editor-in-chief, Numéro magazine, Paris.

    But do not forget your belief as you go along because:

    “It’s not always about money, is it? It doesn’t matter how good your business skills are, how much investment you have or how good you manufacturing is, because it you don’t have a vocabulary, something to say, then all of that other stuff doesn’t really matter.”

    Imran Amed, editor-in-chief, The Business of Fashion.


    The jury members were not there solely to judge and give advice - as one guitarist of a legendary rock band commented after being on the photography panel:

    “I feel like I’m a bit of an imposter because I’m not a trained photographer, but at the same time by looking at the photographers’ work, talking to them about photography and to share my love of photography, I feel included through the judging process.”

    Colin Greenwood, musician, Radiohead.


    Above all, it’s important for both the jury and the competitors to enjoy mingling, learning and interacting with each other at Hyères.
    “I hope they’re are all going home with good moments in their minds.”

    Jean-Pierre Blanc, founder and director of Hyères Festival.


    Interview by Lucienne Leung-DaviesPhotos by Filep MotwaryVideo production by Stimuleye