Earlier this year I was the lucky winner of the Young British Designers (YBD) competition to win a dress by Yan To. YBD is a collective focusing on new and emerging designers in Great Britain, providing a dedicated retail environment for those in the formative years of their label. The site hosts some phenomenal talent – Yan To, Olivia Rubin, J.W.Anderson and Eudon Choi amongst others – across the arenas of fashion, accessories and jewellery design.
My dress was to be made-to-measure and I was thrilled to win the competition. Yan was incredibly approachable and communicative about the fit, style and structure of the dress, questioning me about my likes and dislikes as well as taking all manner of measurements to ensure the final piece would be perfect for me. We talked a lot about depth and texture – initially I wanted something quite simple (you know me, Blog Reader) but I can now see that with the different elastics; some matt, some with a sheen (there is a close up, below) the dress has a more unique visual effect. Yan sent me images of the creative process as it unfolded in his studio and to be so close to the anatomy of a design was a really lovely thing for someone who adores fashion but who does not have a design background.
The dress forms part of Yan’s forthcoming winter 2012 collection, with many pieces created using elastics, one of his signatures:
I met up with Yan during my trip to London last month to take delivery of the dress and we talked about his inspiration for the new line (a thought process I felt showed a lovely awareness of the psychology of being female) and about his work in general.
Yan explained, “Autumn winter 2012 is inspired by the stripping away of the perception of woman as seen through the eyes of the media, to expose her inner light /dark. It is realised from the point of love, not cynicism.” He continued, “For those with a more mischievous disposition it’s kind of like throwing down the gauntlet. ‘If you see me as an object, then check out what’s beneath. Scared? Intimidated? Please close the door behind you. Intrigued? Well…’.”
Yan’s inspiration tends to come from a combination of emotions and thoughts. He told me that there are very few drawings in his design process. “I prefer to work in 3D either in my head or on the stand.” His design process? “It’s as much about experimenting with a technique as it is about trying to satisfy an inspiration.” With a collection of thought provoking, beautiful dresses that are amazing to look at and great to wear I am very excited to see Yan’s future evolution as a designer.