Hyères 2014: Tête à Tête with Stage of the Art

The outdoor concerts proposed by the Stage of the Art collective during the festival of Hyères were among the highlights of the weekend. Once back in Paris, KENZINE caught up with founder and director Laurence Alvart to reflect on Stage of the Art's contribution for the 2014 festival. 

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Photo by Filep Motwary.


Kenzine: Could you describe in your own words what Stage of the Art is all about ?

Laurence Alvart: Stage of the Art is a creative company dedicated to musical curation, and what we do is build synergies between music and other domains such as fashion, contemporary art, and cinema. 

K: How did the collaboration between Stage of the Art and the Hyères festival start?

L.A.: We have always enjoyed following the progress of the festival at Hyères. Our collaboration started for the 2011 edition, following a delightful meeting with Jean-Pierre Blanc, the founder and director of the festival.  Our aim is to bring a little extra something to the festival experience, to provide a sort of musical break between talks, meetings, jury deliberations or fashion shows. We at Stage of the Art are driven by the same passion that is at the heart of the festival at Hyères: we love heading out to discover young talents to nurture and to showcase.

Above: Jaako Eino Kalevi wears the KENZO waves trench; portrait by Giasco Bertoli.


K: Chlöe Howl, Jakko Eino Kalevi and C.A.R. were the artists invited at the festival of Hyères this year. How did you choose them?


L.A.: We choose our artists by following our intuition; it’s really about the right feeling.  We try to unearth emerging talent who we feel are just on the cusp of greatness, working with our partners Red Bull Studios Paris. In the past three years, we are really proud to have presented Connan Mockassin; The Shoes with a surprise appearance by Woodkid – a total unknown at that time!; The Citizens; Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs; Eugene McGuinness, and Perez, whom we discovered in 2012 and now has his own creative residency at the Villa Noailles.  We also try to pick artists that the people attending the festival will love and who we believe will bring some magic to the fabulous environment of the Villa Noailles and its gardens. That was exactly what happened this year with our three artists, whom we are very proud of. Chloé Howl illuminated the opening of the festival on the Friday night, Jaako Eino Kalevi gave a magnificent performance in the sun-drenched hanging garden and C.A.R. bewitched the audience on the final evening.

K: The Hyères festival provides a moment of relief for people who work in the creative industries, when they can meet, exchange and converse in a different environment. Would you agree?


L.A.: Yes I would, it’s a place where it’s much easier to meet and to talk to people whom you might never dream of getting hold of in Paris. It’s also an event where the focus is on young talent – the competing designers and photographers- and that offers a different, refreshing kind of perspective.  It is this spirit of discovery that makes the festival such a success and it is why so many people like to come back year after year. Everybody is relaxed and open, which offers a lot of opportunity. On a personal level, while we spend a lot of the time preparing the concerts, the festival still brings us new ideas, new projects and new people.

Left: C.A.R. at the Villa Noailles by Filep Motwary.


K: Did you have the opportunity to see the collections of the designers competing for the Grand Prix?


L.A.: Yes, and we fostered our own favourites; our creative crushes were for Yulia Yefimtchuk and Coralie Mirabelle. And the laureate (Kenta Matsushige) was exceptionally talented! Every year we are so impressed by the talent and their work, which is always incredibly accomplished and professional. There were really beautiful collections this year…


K: What did you enjoy the most during the 2014 edition of the festival at Hyères ?


L.A.: I absolutely loved Marc Turlan’s ephemeral exhibition of new works, and of course the KENZO FOREVER, NO? exhibition. I adored the music: the three concerts were very moving for us, and each was very different. We would like to thank KENZO for dressing our beautiful Finish artist Jaakko and his band.


Above: Jean-Pierre Blanc, wearing KENZO, enjoys a concert in the hanging garden of the Villa Noailles. Photo by Filep Motwary.


K: What is the latest thing you have seen, heard, read or felt that inspired or stimulated you ?

L.A.: At Stage of the Art we are fortunate to be inspired daily, but here are our recent favourites:

 - The latest album from Damon Albarn, an artist who has always known how to reinvent himself and be absolutely of the moment. His collaborations and projects are always inspiring to us!

 - Christopher Wool’s exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York.

 - Marc Turlan’s recent works, which were previewed during the 29th International Festival of fashion and photography at Hyères.

 - CERVICHE restaurant in London (thanks to Guillaume S. for the recommendation!), and the generally refreshing creative ambiance that one can enjoy in London or New York.