Yasmin Le Bon has designed a new fashion collection for Winser London. Here she discusses fashion, family and Richmond Park
Words Pearl Boyd
It must be very exciting to design a fashion collection. What do you enjoy most?
It’s a wonderful thing to be part of a creative team – to work with creative people who know so much technically and who you can learn from. It’s great to be learning – that’s what I really enjoy – developing ideas, thinking about things. I had some specific ideas and I’ve been helpfully led and we’ve developed things together. That’s the beauty of doing this type of project. I don’t think you can do anything on your own in life.”
Has London influenced your collection?
I love London. I live here and feel very attached to it. I can’t think of another capital city that has so much diversity of everything – bars, music, culture and wonderful surroundings. I live in Putney so I have Richmond Park on my doorstep. To me that’s a huge inspiration. I couldn’t just live in a concrete jungle, I have to have nature around me all the time – that’s what I’m constantly inspired by.”
Putting your name on something is personal – you’re sharing something of yourself with other people. How do you think your new collection shows your personality?
Putting your name to anything is a really personal thing and you are laying bare your soul to some extent. It’s actually quite a liberating experience and a challenge and it’s a very good thing. I’m naturally a very shy person, so having to get over the idea of being judged and just wanting to express yourself in the hope that someone else is going to get what you’re after is actually a thoroughly enjoyable experience. And learning to compromise. Being part of a different kind of team has been a real education.
“I like blurring the boundaries of nightwear and daywear”
What was the mood and inspiration behind your collection?
I’m obsessed by classic cars. I have been for some time. I read classic car magazines from cover to cover. They are a big element in this collection. Part of why I love classic cars is because I like classic design. I love design in general. You would never mistake one car for another, whereas now they all look similar. I love the whole idea of lady racers – at the beginning of motor racing there were a lot of women racing cars. Women enjoyed cars just as much as men and many of them were doing rallies all over Europe. I was really fascinated by the idea of women in that powerful, active, adventurous role. This collection has a real vintage feel to it. I love vintage clothes, vintage design. I love vintage car racing and that idea of the adventurous spirit and the adventurous woman who raced classic cars is behind this collection.
Are any of the pieces inspired by clothes you already own?
There are always things when you’re looking at designing a collection. You cherry pick from all sorts of areas. You look back at your own wardrobe – things that really worked – whether it was a great colour or texture. Or maybe something you thought didn’t quite work and you want to revisit it. I went vintage shopping in the States and found a wonderful flower brooch that really spoke to me. That’s what developed the floral silk print design. It’s so much to do with coming upon the right thing at the right time.
How did you choose the fabrics, colours and prints?
There’s one fabric that I really wanted: a beautiful English herringbone tweed. To me it’s just gorgeous. It’s luxury. You could go out in the winter or the summer in it and it would keep you warm or keep you cool. It’s resilient yet still pure luxury. The English tweed came from that whole idea of old racing suits and utility wear. Something that’s really practical but I wanted it to be luxurious as well, so it has an incredibly soft feel to it. Also the idea of the silk pyjama – that’s very much that 20s, 30s woman. She was very liberated and willing to take risks.”
What type of woman are you designing for?
My woman is definitely adventurous and slightly athletic and sporty – she is playful. I like the idea of blurring the boundaries of nightwear and daywear. I’ve walked around wearing pyjamas and nightdresses in the daytime forever. I think it’s an incredibly luxurious statement. I wasn’t really thinking of the woman I was designing for – I was really thinking of me. Completely selfish. I want every piece!”
Are there pieces that your daughters will want to borrow?
I know what they’ll be after – the silk pyjama pant and the striped jumper. I can imagine my daughters’ generation wearing that with their ripped jeans or a big circular skirt – quite crazy. I think there’s an element for every generation.”
We know Simon loves clothes too – what does he think of your collection?
I have a feeling that Simon expects me to make the YLB Herringbone Tweed Zip Jacket for him. It’s not a man’s collection at all but when I told him what I was doing he instantly leapt up and said “Oh great! Can you do one for me?”.