Paris Progressives: Yiqing Yin Couture

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This young Chinese-born and Paris-based designer has caused for much ink to flow on the pages of glossy fashion magazines. At the tender age of26, Yiqing Yin already has her very own time-slot on Paris’ Haute Couture calendar. Yin’s dreamlike creations have won her the prestigious ANDAM prize in 2011, shortly after her graduation from the likewise reputed “Arts Décoratifs” school for applied arts in Paris. Last year, Yin was even given a residence at Paris’ new fashion Mecca, “Les Docks en Seine”, where she set up her atelier and showroom space, next to other design and fashion stores and Les Dock’s regular fashion exhibitions.

It looks like Yin has continuously been on a fast track to success. Especially, if you consider that no one other than Didier Grumbach himself – the renowned director of the French Federation of Couture and Ready to Wear – invited her to make her first steps in the fashion business in January 2012, as a guest member of Paris Haute Couture. “It is an honour to have the Federation’s full support and at the same time a real challenge”, Yin confirmed earlier this year, well aware that the prestigious “Haute Couture” label can prove to be a tricky thing to maintain – the label comes with binding rules of traditional know-how and strict production regulations defined by a Parisian based atelier. The use of high-quality fabrics and of course the uniqueness of hand-made, bespoke pieces are a given. “I refer to Couture’s quality standard through a renewed form of craftsmanship”, the designer added.

But what makes Yiqing Yin’s designs stick out so much in the world of Couture aesthetics? Handicraft and audacious cuts may be two vital elements of Yin’s designs, but are by no means new in the world of Haute Couture. It’s rather her forward-thinking technical experimentation, which still makes for wearable fashion designs that captivated the attention of fashion professionals and amateurs alike. And Yiqing Yin of course can’t resist showing the world her ingeniousness in all things texture and shape. Innovative fabrics and treatments such as liquid organza, resinated embroidery, random tie-dye techniques and laser cut alcantara are just a few examples of the many fashionable tools that shape her very feminine yet organic silhouettes. In this context, nature is also a major inspiration for her: “The creative power of nature fascinates me! Its fragility, its organic forms, but also the reflections of natural light, the mineral surfaces…I try to fuse all these elements in my work, by playing with motion and blurriness”. In other words, Yin excels at fluid tailoring.

This was also the main emphasis of her latest Spring-Summer 2013 collection. Yin told Sleek she had been influenced by Naum Gabo’s “almost immaterial sculptures with parabolic, large volumes that occupy space without filling it”. In this context, Yiqing Yin paired softness and structure: fine threads ended up woven, knotted and braided, and were fixed with metallic iron bandages created by artist Nora Renaud. Further long threads flew along the body, while rhinestones created eye-popping detailing. A burgundy corded evening gown and asymmetric neck-holder and turtleneck dresses in midnight blue dévoré optic were particularly eye-catching and emphasised the organic-inspired side of her designs.

One might think that Yin’s designs look randomly beautiful but in fact the designer pays great attention to meticulous detailing and controls a silhouette’s structure like nobody else. “When I work on a silhouette, I design it according to the movement of the body, like some kind of fluid armour”, Yin confirmed when asked about her style, and it’s a duality that definitely keeps her innovating.

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