While the fashion world keeps obsessing over the imminent death of Haute Couture, JOYCE was pleased to invite couturier Yiqing Yin to Beijing and Hong Kong to show our discerning customers the art behind the craft and what makes modern couture so desirable.
Wearing head-to-toe black in a Rick Owens jacket and Givenchy shoulder bag, Yiqing Yin quietly strolls into JOYCE Central, but you can still feel her presence. Like her creations, she embodies a Parisian chic combined with Chinese beauty with her long, slightly messy hair framing her make-up free face, chiseled cheek bones and oriental eyes. She is surrounded by mannequins, each one wearing one of her ethereal dresses featuring intricate hand crafted pleats, crystal embellishments and sculpted details. These one-of-a-kind gowns are not just fairytale dresses and have a story behind them.
“In France, many Haute Couture houses have closed down. All that’s remaining are a few big names such as Chanel and Dior. The French government needed to find new energy, a new blood for Haute Couture. It is a space for creative freedom.”
“I love human anatomy- I love studying the veins, the muscles. Therefore I came up with the “Ouvrir Venus” FW11 collection, which literally translates as “Open up Venus.” The pleats and sculpted details resemble the muscles and veins underneath the skin. The starting point was actually quite violent,” she says with a charming smile.
According to Yin, the woman who wears her clothes is not just soft and feminine either.
“There’s always an element of contrast. She has her head in the clouds but her feet on the ground – she’s a free wanderer. She’s a goddess who walks in the real world with a distance from everybody else. She’s extremely sensual but with a wild side. My designs provide a soft armour for her, especially since we live in a misogynic world where women still need to work harder to prove themselves.”
A 26 year-old Chinese girl who grew up in Paris, has lived in Sydney and now is based in Paris, it’s clear that her multi-cultural background has shaped her mature attitude and unique approach to fashion.
“I’ve always loved arts and crafts until I went to arts school. I thought I would become a sculptor, and then I encountered textiles and discovered their sensual quality. A flat piece of cloth gave me so much freedom through draping, sculpting and pleating to create a 3D design,” she says.
This sense of freedom also explains why she chose Haute Couture over ready-to-wear.
“In France, many Haute Couture houses have closed down. All that’s remaining are a few big names such as Chanel and Dior. The French government needed to find new energy, a new blood for Haute Couture. It is a space for creative freedom,” she continues.
Yin does not only redefine haute couture, but is one of the few Chinese names in the fashion world. Many years ago the Chinese were producing luxury goods, before becoming consumers of luxury. Now is the time for a new crop of talent to emerge and steer the fashion industry.
“I’m very enthusiastic and optimistic for the Chinese. We are in an era where the West is looking to the East. There’s no more discrimination like in the past and China has such a rich cultural heritage,” she says.
But in a world that is becoming full of accessible and fast fashion, is Haute Couture the right niche for this talented young designer?
“Because there’s too much “fast-food” fashion, there is a group of customers who yearn for rare, exclusive and real luxury. You’d be surprised to know that there is a younger generation of women who really appreciate quality. Also thanks to institutions like JOYCE, who helps bring people like me to the fashion scene, , to let modern women know that it’s not just about celebrity-culture, it’s about individuality, a lifestyle and identity.” Yin works on each piece herself by hand and brings in experts if the design involves crystals or fur. Each piece from the collection is customisable, from the length to the colour. They can also request for a custom design. The whole process, including fittings, will take from one to three months.
It’s so refreshing to hear a young woman talk about fashion with real passion and substance, and who takes design seriously without becoming too self- involved. Commenting on the current trend for women to compete when it comes to fashion she says: “I know what you mean! During fashion week, outside a show, you often see a woman looking down to her feet and saying, “oh sh*t, I’m wearing the same shoes as she is…”
And she has a wicked sense of humour too.