When Yasmin Kianfar’s entire Central Saint Martins graduate collection was snapped up by Browns in 2010, it was a sure sign that this designer was one to watch. Now selling at Opening Ceremony in New York and LA, Christensen Copenhagen in Sydney and at Avenue 32 online, the collection is sought after by party princesses and street style stars alike.
Coolly feminine, Kianfar’s pieces are both of-the-moment and utterly timeless. Dresses are cut to subtly accentuate the female form and futuristic fabrics such as powernet are combined with leather and silk to create a singularly aloof sex appeal in every piece.
For the 24 year old Brighton-based designer, the devil’s in the details: hems are weighted down with silver chains sewn into the seams, micro pleating is hand finished and precision laser cutting techniques – Kianfar’s leitmotif – is found in everything from t-shirts to mini-skirts.
The best thing about Yasmin Kianfar’s collections? We want to wear every single piece.
Where do you look for inspiration?
By the time a new collection comes around- I've usually had an idea in my head for a while that I'm desperate to start looking more at. Then I'll go to the V&A library and immerse myself in images from that starting point. Last season it was the Riviera and I was looking at beautiful images from the twenties. There is always a contrast to the elegance I am attracted to, with a more sporty clean aspect. So I will mix up images of The Great Gatsby with those of nineties minimal style.
Who would you most like to see wearing Yasmin Kianfar?
So many people- I love Kate Bosworth, Keira Knightley. Equally my friends are all beautiful, intelligent girls and it's amazing to see them wearing my pieces too.
Where do you hope to take the brand in the next few years?
I've grown my brand and business very organically over the last 2 years and I love that. My ethos is to do everything very well and for it to be manageable, I would love the brand to grow in exposure and stockists- but I'm patient and I'll wait for the right ones.
Who is the Yasmin Kianfar girl?
She is very discerning, she lives by her own rules and won't sacrifice quality of life. Her style is well-chosen, edited and timeless and ultimately unique to her.
What are your design signatures?
My design signatures are Laser-cut pieces which can take many forms. I developed this technique in response to being friends with so many print students- they all had print so I felt I needed something of my own. Only I didn't like the business of print. I wanted something as beautiful as lace but more contemporary. The way in which I design combines my want for something that nods towards nostalgia but is entirely new. I love how women looked in previous eras but I want modern clothing; the shapes are classic and do not challenge the female form, but the overall look will satisfy a modern woman.
Would you say that you have defined the Yasmin Kianfar aesthetic now, or is it still a work in progress?
I would say that the Yasmin Kianfar aesthetic has always been there and is the strong foundation of everything I do. It gives you the freedom to try new things because as long as it still fits with the brand you have created- go for it.
You studied fashion with marketing at Saint Martins - how useful has the course been?
Fashion Design with Marketing is the lesser known pathway on the Fashion Design BA at St Martin's. It is drummed into us to have a customer from day one- If you can't imagine who is wearing it, don't design or make it. The Womenswear pathway are allowed to indulge themselves a little more. Strangely though, most of the recent crop of new brands have come from this pathway. Look at Huishan Zhang, Marina London and Charlotte Taylor- all FDM graduates.
What's your favourite piece you've designed to date?
Definitely the White and Nude Dress from SS '12. It is a white laser-cut under dress with a Nude silk overlay. The combination of laser cutting and silk worked very well and it totally sums up my perception of beauty.