The Hyères Festival, an international fashion, jewelry and photography competition takes place annually in the South of France from 25-29 April. For this 34th edition, Chloé creative director, Natacha Ramsay-Levi, headed up the fashion jury and the event also featured a Chloé fashion show which featured additional looks created by each finalist.
This year, however, saw another brand new and exciting element. Festival partner Chanel inaugurated an additional award, the Métiers d’art prize. The maison nominated 10 finalists to work in collaboration with one of the 10 métiers d’art ateliers owned by its Paraffection division. These include Desrues button makers, milliner Maison, Michel Lésage embroiderer, Goossens jeweler and, bootmaker Massaro. The winning designer will receive 20,000 euros to realize a creative project to be unveiled at next year’s festival.
This year’s Hyères Festival winner Christoph Rumpf was billeted to Massaro. Last week, FN caught up with the young Austrian designer who studied under Hussein Chalayan at Vienna’s University of Applied Arts and has interned with Craig Green in London.
How did you end up being paired with Massaro?
It was done randomly by matching our birthdates to the date each atelier entered Paraffection. I had never worked in shoes at all before.
How did you come up with the idea for your shoe?
Luckily it was something I had had in my mind for a long time. I had always wanted to make it but I never had the expertise. All the pieces I create are like characters in a story. My shoe, a leather boot covered in draped fabrics, is the rich kid who wants to escape and become a pirate.
Are your inspirations autobiographical?
Everything I do is about evolving and belonging. When I was growing up in the Styrian countryside in Southern Austria, I was the weird gay kid who never fitted in. My Hyères competition main collection is inspired by a lost prince who grows up in the jungle. It’s about how he doesn’t fit in when he’s returned to his peers. It’s like the shoe that doesn’t fit.
What happened on your first visit to the Massaro atelier in Paris?
Two days after I learned I had been paired with Massaro I visited the studio and met the managing director Jean-Etienne Prach who explained to me what was possible and showed me fabric options and lasts.
Was it what you expected or did anything come as a surprise?
I thought it would be huge but it’s super small and full of character. It felt like a family. It also felt much more like a tailor than I had imagined.
Take us through the process
There were no lasts in the Massaro archive that worked for the style I had in mind so I found something close and sent it to them and they created a last from that. I sent them sketches of what I wanted to achieve with the draping and we worked via email.
What did you learn from the experience?
I learned that you have to be very precise, both in terms of your drawings and your explanations.
Tell us about the additional look you created for the Chloé show.
I love working with up-cycled materials so I made a parka from an Indian storytelling blanket I found in a flea market. It’s made of linen with hand-stitched embroidery. I think it’s really important for designers to address overproduction and know where their fabrics come from.
Watch highlights from the 2018 FNAAs ere: