Yan To and Young British Designers.

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.

Outfit photos by Lydia Hudgens.
Many thanks to Yan To and Young British Designers for the competition!!  Special thank you to fellow Tweeters Lorien and Jessica from Atelier 36 who I met for the first time in Lahndan town and who came along to see the fabulous new dress.
Wearing: dress by Yan To.  Heels by Dorothy Perkins. Diamond pendant by Anjolee jewellery.


  1. Patricia says

    Oh I love that quote there . .” If you see me as an object, then check out what’s beneath. Scared? Intimidated? Please close the door behind you. Intrigued? Well…’.” And as always you look gorgeous!

  2. says

    Oh wow! How incredibly lucky you are to have a dress designed FOR you!! The dress looks amazing on you and resembles your style; classy, minimalistic and chic! I definitely have to check out Yan To!

  3. says

    How wonderful to have a dress custom made and fitted just for you! It sounds like a dream, and Yan could not have created a more perfect design for you – the colour and fit suit your style perfectly, but the elastic detail makes it completely unique and different from anything that you will ever have in your wardrobe. And you look absolutely stunning in it!

  4. says

    you look stunning! i’ve never heard of this designer before, so glad that you’ve made the introduction because this dress is very nice, love the intricate detailing. hope you’re having a lovely sunday my friend ;) ;)

  5. says

    These photos do not do this dress any justice – a beautiful dress, for a beautiful woman. After seeing it in person I had my breath taken away. Yan To has such talent, and skill – it is absolutely fascinating the thought process behind his looks, and the ideas. Great to see the development, and the dress is a textural delight! Loved accompanying you, thank you for inviting me, and it was great to meet Yan To, and Jessica. x


  6. says

    What a stunning dress, both aesthetically and in terms of craftsmanship. I love to see how fashion and luxury items are made; it only adds to how emotionally attached you become to them.

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