As promised, leading up to the actual Hyères Festival I'll be bringing you interviews with some members of the jury and performers who will be there. So let's start off on a high note with Mr Baptista himself. The questions were asked by us as the media partners for the event. I know some of you skatties don't like to read anything longer than a paragraph, it's not your fault, blame it on the internet, and then make sure you read the interview.
Felipe Oliveira Baptista was born in 1975 on the Portuguese Atlantic archipelago of the Azores. He graduated from Kingston University in London, where he studied design and fashion design. Thereafter he worked for Max Mara, Christophe Lemaire and Cerruti. In 2003, he founded his own label and now lives and works in Paris with his wife and two children. In 2005, he was invited to show in the official calendar of Couture for the first time. His collections have been sold in stores such as Colette and Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Podium in Moscow. He is a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. In 2010 he was appointed creative manager of Lacoste.
Mr. Baptista's current work is a within the maistream of high fashion. He is the head of Jury for this year’s Hyeres Festival.
# If I asked you to look back to the beginning of your career and compare how the industry worked then to how fashion functions today, what would you say are the biggest changes?
Everything has speeded up a lot, more collections, pre-collections, collaborations & capsules. Internet gave way to a whole new way of spreading new talent, ideas and concepts. It is a very different landscape from the beginning of the century. On the other end, we seem to live in an era where there is too much of everything and by the time something new is found, it is already finished.
Warhol's 15 minutes have turned into 15 seconds.
# Winning Hyères + Winning the ANDAM + Consulting for other brands... is that the only path for French-based designers to establish themselves today?
I think Paris is the toughest fashion week for a young designer. Between all the big houses and a strong presence of other international designers, it makes the spotlight smaller; so Hyeres & the Andam are a great help to get your name out there.
As for working for other brands, if you are independent and do shows, it is almost mandatory.
# How do you keep a sportswear brand such as Lacoste relevant on an international scale, and is international appeal vital for a successful brand? Where does that appeal come from - catering to diverse markets or maintaining a uniquely French aesthetic that people find desirable?
Lacoste is relevant on an international scale with more than 1500 shops worldwide. We create a base and main message through the show collections, pre- collections and advertising campaigns, but there are regional adaptations done to answer local needs.
# You being Portuguese felt any difficulties to enter in the market, even though you have a British training? What do you think of Portuguese fashion today? Which are the things that need to be improved so they have more global approach?
I don't know…I do not think my nationality went for or against me, I believe individuality is stronger than one's nationality.
# You are going to have an exhibition at Hyères as well. What are you going to display?
"A screen to the brain" is an installation made of 100 different sized screens that go through the creative process of a collection: references, collages, drawings, and videos to the pages of fashion magazines.
This installation will evolve and will be shown again in a FOB exhibition starting next October in MUDE, Lisbon.