A smattering of applause greeted a skirt on the runway at Leonard, where couturier Yiqing Yin was making her debut as creative director for the French house. Was it the end? Actually, it was just the beginning. “The gestures of wearing a scarf” named Yin as her reference for this first collection.
After the show, Leonard’s President Mr. Tribouillard was superlative in describing the talent of the creative director he'd picked for her "ability to truly renew the house” as she fielded interviews. “Having never worked with prints, the archives were a discovery for me, and I believe a fresh eye is needed to apprehend such wealth,” echoed Yin separately a few minutes later.
Asked whether she had created the season's prints, Yin explained that with an archive spanning some five thousand prints, she’d had no difficulty finding ones that would express the season. Colorimetric adjustments were made, changes in hues and in one instance, she cherry-picked elements from various prints to create a haunting new collage of vintage elements. Beyond these small infractions, it was all Leonard.
Steering clear of the best-sellers and driving the silhouettes away from a predictable groove proved to be the right decision. The stronger looks were the ones that looked the least like what had become synonymous with Leonard. Gone were the little separates and the little floral dresses. There wasn't a soft-hued floaty chiffon in sight. Rather than ascribing to the house's lady-like silhouettes, Yin described a wardrobe for an urbane traveler who turns an eye towards the East. It worked best when there was an underlying - if invisible - structure on which to drape. Voluminous furs and thick felted wool coats broke away from the sleekness and made for a more modern proportion. Even in a thick blanket coat, one could see the vision of a wool scarf. Movements of wrapping and draping continued this scarf allegory throughout, down to the wired handkerchief hem of a dress.
The resulting collection was an interesting blend between two otherwise divergent aesthetics, both unmistakably Leonard but also recognizably Yiqing Yin. While there were some tenuous propositions, and ones that would need further exploration, this love match seems like a good fit, and here’s to hoping the honeymoon lasts.
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