Humberto Leon: ‘We Never Expected Such A Rush On That Kenzo Tiger Sweatshirt’

The designer was at the Hyères festival scouting new talent


by Isabelle O'Carroll |

Carol Lim and Humberto Leon are the fashion world's goodie-two-shoes right now. Between their wildly successful Opening Ceremony store, reinvigorating the Kenzo label and sparking our obsession with tiger-print sweatshirts the pair can do no wrong. Which is probably why the organisers of Hyères 29th International Festival of Fashion & Photography chose them to head up the jury this weekend, along with friends Spike Jonze and Chloe Sevigny.

Every year the Hyères festival reunites a select crowd of fashion industry experts, journalists and enthusiasts in an impossibly glamorous setting to hunt out new talent. The modernist Villa Noailles sits in the fragrant hills - seriously, it’s like the Garden of Eden up there - on the south of France. Think ultra-chic French women with a laissez-faire attitude and high-fashion cool kids toting Celine and APC. Basically the kinds of wardrobes we can only dream of. Or add to our Pinterest boards.

For a designer, winning the festival's ultimate prize is the kind of accolade that you could only dream of as it offers a grant, a collaboration with Petit Bateau and a general leg-up from the industry.

So who impressed Carol and Humberto? We caught up with them to find out how they picked the winner - and find out what's in store for Kenzo post-sweatshirt mania.

The Debrief: So tell us why you wanted to be on the jury at Hyères?

Humberto: We're excited to have a chance to speak to these designers.

Carol: Often designers don't have access to conversation so giving that feedback is pretty valuable.

**DB: Kenta Matsushige took home the top prize. What made him a worthy winner? **

Humberto: The quality of his finishing, he understands who he is designing for.

Carol: You can see the woman who he is designing for and the vision, having him explain the inspiration of the collection and seeing that you see that he understood the whole process.


**DB: You also awarded a special prize to Yulia Yemfimtchuck, giving the winner a chance to be stocked in Opening Ceremony for two seasons. Why her? **

**Carol: **For us, Yulia expressed a unique point of view, there was a sense of strength to it that we loved. Her point of view and purity; it deserved a special type of award.


**DB: So were you expecting the amazing success that was that Tiger print sweater? **

Humberto: In all honesty that was something that came from something that I wanted to wear, we don't even really think about things in that way.

**DB: Where on earth do you go after that?

**Humberto: There's a lot of new categories that we introduced to the brand, we've just introduced the handbag category and it's started [getting] this really great traction already. We're really famous for our dresses so that's one of the other things that we're also excited about.

DB: What was it like working with Chloe Sevigny again?

Carol: Chloe is one of our best friends so we're always having a great time with her and she has such an amazing point of view to bring to things.

Follow Isabelle on Twitter @IsabelleOC

Pictures: Filep Motwary, The Stimuleye

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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