Telling a workaholic like me to chillax is pretty much like getting a dog to stop barking (insert any animal analogy there..... the dog just sprang to mind). I am one of those unfortunate souls who can't lie on a beach doing nothing for two weeks. Therefore escaping to Hyères for the Festival of Fashion and Photography on Thursday (and I'm still here...) was the happy compromise. Up high on the hills of Southern France nestles the Villa Noailles, a 1920's Cubist architectural feat conceived by Mallet-Stevens where on the freshly mowed lawns, young designers, established designers, the discerning fashion press and the movers and shakers of the fashion world come together in a celebration of fashion and photography talent. Without the frenzy of fashion capitals, you have time to take stock, breathe a little, meander around the villa slowly taking it all in - the designers rooms (each fashion competition entrant gets their own room to create a homage to their collections), the exhibitions, the photographers' competition exhibit (many more pics to come later...if you can take it). To some extent, there's a certain like mindeness about the people who attend Hyères which makes it all the easier to start discussing about fashion with others. It's not what one would call mainstream yet there is a non-commercial esteem here that makes it unique. There seems to be a very purist attitude towards fashion nurtured here, where all the frippery of fashion gets stripped away and you are left with the core of looking at design itself. All this might sound a little 'Woosh....over the head a little....' but at the same time, it's not elitist either as the local community of Hyères get involved heavily and are attendees themselves.
Conclusion? A weekend at Hyères has certainly been the chicken soup I needed whilst not switching my brain off completely.