Designer Interview: Ann Yee
You would never guess looking at Ann Yee SS'10 that this is only the second collection under the designer's namesake label. It's the kind of collection I love, one that can't be described with just one or two adjectives yet each piece works together to create a perfect whole. I can't wait to see what Yee has in store for upcoming seasons.

Paper-Doll: How did you get into fashion design?
Ann Yee: It started with trips I used to take to Hong Kong to visit my parents’ family...I was amazed at the street style over there, drastically different from what I was seeing in Michigan...I was definitely inspired and started dressing a bit more adventurous; this was probably around age 11/12. My love of fashion was much earlier on – I have memories of sketching figures at the front desk/register of my parents’ Chinese restaurant…and customers always commenting, asking if I could “make” one for them! I never thought it was a realistic career until I did some more research at the beginning of high school and had a few other friends that were interested in it as well. We all kind of motivated one another to pursue it.

What is the first thing you designed (personally or professionally)?
A reworked vintage denim bolero – I used a pair of old CK jeans and patched pieces together….it’s still hanging in my closet, somewhere...

When did you launch your label?
The brand began at the end of 2008 with my F/W09 collection. My subsequent S/S10 collection will be debuting in stores this March.

What inspires you / your work?
I draw inspiration from a number of places and never limit myself to just one thing. Usually, something will just hit me all at once, whether art, a particular song, architecture or even just a color palette.
Describe your SS’10 Collection.
For my S/S10 collection, inspiration was drawn from crystal and mollusk shells, natural sources of physical and emotional protection. The soft and fluid draping, combined with the pleating, that is present throughout the collection was taken from the lovely surface textures that are apparent in those objects.

What is your favourite piece from your SS’10 Collection?
The Petra swing top. (Triple collared top pictured above)

Did you have a personal soundtrack or a favourite album that you listened to while working on SS’10?
Devendra Banhart, Beach House & Bat For Lashes were constantly playing...

What area of your work do you enjoy the most?
Researching concepts at the beginning of each season ---- I love collecting everything and anything that’ll get ideas flowing.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Time management.

What is the most surprising thing that has happened to you as a designer?
The amazingly nice/helpful people that I have met along the way – so willing and generous to help out at any capacity…I am so grateful!
If you could collaborate with any designer / artist / musician / etc. on a single project, who would it be and what would you do?
Costume design for The NY City Ballet. As a former dancer, I'll always be passionate about dancing and respectful of the art.

If you could design a wardrobe for any one person (past/present/real/fictional), who would it be?
Pris from Bladerunner would be fun.

How would you describe your own personal style?
My personal style is a mix of old and new, high-end and vintage. I'm definitely a risk-taker and I like to stand-out, but in a whimsical (and always unique!) manner. I have a tendency to wear oversized pieces because I love playing with proportion.

What is your favourite item in your personal wardrobe?
My father’s embroidered brown leather belt from the ‘70s.

Where do you shop for clothes when you're not wearing your own?
I absolutely love Hell’s Kitchen flea market, Change of Season, various vintage stores such as Fluke and Narnia.

What is on your current fashion wishlist?
A nice pair of flat lace up boots in black---I’ve been wearing too many heels, I need some comfort in my life!
What fashion trend would you not be caught dead in?

What is the one item that every woman should have in her closet?

What is your favourite thing about the city you live in?
(New York) 24hr delis!

If you couldn’t be a fashion designer, what other area of interest would you like to explore?
Most likely something in performance art...I took dance for years and was a total theater geek in high school.

What is next for your label?
S/S11 -- one thing at a time! I would love to eventually ease into menswear...

Visit: Ann Yee
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