Published: May 2009
By William Middleton
Tell someone you're headed to a festival in the south of France, and they'll mention starlets on the Croisette. Say you're attending the Festival International des Arts de la Mode, and the conversation will grind to a halt. But this avant-garde fashion extravaganza, held in Hyères, a village on the Côte d'Azur, is the place to see the next style makers. John Galliano and Andrée Putman have served on the jury; the Dutch couturier team Viktor & Rolf and realist photographer Anuschka Blommers were discovered here. "You have all this creativity and, at the same time, a great long weekend in the sun," says French designer Martine Sitbon. "There's nothing else like it in fashion." The general public can reserve tickets to the events—which range from fashion shows to photography exhibitions—and visit the Modernist masterpiece Villa Noailles, fresh from a $3.5 million restoration. Festival International des Arts de la Mode, April 26—29; 33-4/94-65-22-72; www.festivals-hyeres.com.