We close with an epic interview with the French fashion visionary. Et Bonne nuit.
Meeting the brilliantly elegant and experimental haute couture designer
- Text by Satellite Voices
Guest Feature by Richard Bridgman
Yiqing Yin is the latest addition to Paris’s prestigious Haute Couture calendar. A remarkable achievement that this delightfully humble and elegant young designer does not take lightly. We visited her in her atelier to find out more.
Satellite Voices: After only four collections, you’ve already won over fashion critics across the globe. What would you say is the most defining moment of your career to date?
Yiqing Yin: I would say it would have to be my first ever runway show. Presenting a collection is inevitably a life changing experience. It felt like it was the five of us against the world. People kept telling us how crazy we were to be showing with next to no budget and so little time to pull things together. It ended up being a raving success. I’ve never been through anything so intense and so emotionally draining in my life.
SV: You were born in China and travelled a great deal during your childhood. To what extent has this rich cultural heritage had an impact on your work?
Yiqing Yin: I wouldn’t say that the countries I’ve visited or where I was born have a direct impact on my work. I’m interested in the idea of movement and roaming more generally. When you embark on a long journey, you inevitably lose all sense of normalcy. Clothes therefore become markers of identity, a source of both strength and intimacy.
SV: A graduate of Paris’ famous Arts Décoratifs, you have a highly experimental approach to design. Your first collection was the subject of several exhibitions at the Ministry of Culture and the Joyce Gallery. How would you best decribe what you are trying to do and say?
Yiqing Yin: My design process is highly instinctive, intricate and sculptural. I built most of my pieces directly onto mannequins or onto women’s bodies, so there is always an experimental aspect to my work. I am delighted to have been able to showcase my early collections via several exhibitions. Such tremendous support early on in my career helped me to take my label to the next level. Joyce in particular helped to introduce my designs to the Asian market and for that I am most grateful.
SV: What made you decide to move towards something lighter, fresher and more colourful with your latest collection, Spring of Nüwa?
Yiqing Yin: I am starting to grow more accustomed to working with colour. I’m not quite there yet, but I try to experiment with hints of colour every so often. Colour is helpful in that it torments the eye amidst a sea of grey and palour. Red features quite heavily in the latest collection. It is a very strong, pure, elementary red. I really enjoy working with this sort of colour, and would even go so far as to call it therapeutic.
SV: You’re officially an invited member of the prestigious Paris Haute Couture calendar since last year. What does this accolade mean to you?
Yiqing Yin: It is above all a tremendous honour for me to be a part of the official calendar and to be given so wonderful an opportunity. I also think it is quite intentional on their part, as they are looking to bring a younger, more joyful feel to the proceedings. I think it is time to acknowledge the prestige of a long and noble tradition while weaving something new and unexpected into it, something more in tune with our generation.
SV: How does it feel to be a woman in a world dominated by men? Is it hard to find one’s place in Haute Couture as a woman? What do you think of fellow female designers Iris Van Herpen and Bouchra Jarrar?
Yiqing Yin: One thing that male designers will never have is the direct relationship we share with our own bodies as female designers. Their work is essentially phantasmagorical. As women, we have a more intimate, direct and sensual approach to Couture. The end product is therefore more authentic. I find what Iris Van Herpen is doing to be most interesting. I’m just waiting to see where she’s headed. As for Bouchra Jarrar, nobody makes more impeccably finished clothes than her, and rightly so, as she has more than twenty years of experience behind her. She brings a more mature approach to the table.
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