YASMINE ESLAMI IN PARIS, DECEMBER 2016. PORTRAIT: RAF STAHELIN.
“Everyone has a different relationship to lingerie; I think it’s a particular relationship that you wouldn’t have with clothes,” lingerie and swimwear designer Yasmine Eslami tells us over the phone from her office in Paris. “I always looked at lingerie everywhere I was traveling. I used to travel quite a lot to Japan and go see what they had in department stores, which is quite different shapes.”
Raised in Paris and trained at Studio Bercot, Eslami has worked in many different facets of fashion. She spent much of the nineties at Vivienne Westwood in London, doing everything from press to studio work to designing for Westwood’s Red Label. “When you come from school and it’s your first job, it’s like your family,” she recalls. “It was 24-hour Westwood world. I loved it. I learned so much.” She credits this time in London with shaping her personal aesthetic: “The British are different; Vivienne is different. It’s a different way of styling, of looking at things,” she says. “Also the English press at the time, there was The Face... I think it gave me a different way of looking at fashion and putting things together—the colors, fabrics. In Paris, we’re more conservative. In London, people don’t care; there’s not the same judgment as here.”
After 10 years at Westwood, Eslami returned to Paris. She began styling editorials for Purple, Olivier Zahm’s fashion magazine, before launching her eponymous lingerie label in 2010. “The nice thing about styling for a magazine is you can create the story— it’s a short time with the work of other people that you re-put together in a different way,” she explains. “It’s an interpretation of other people’s work that you like.”
Today, Eslami’s designs find sexiness in simplicity, with skin-toned, sheer fabrics. She doesn’t put together a traditional mood board for each season, and instead draws inspiration from books and exhibitions such as Alber Elbaz’s 2015 Lanvin exhibition in Paris. She also designs swimwear, collaborating with Westwood’s Andreas Kronthaler on a “little swim collection” for Summer 2017, and would like, at some point, to expand into ready-to-wear. Lingerie, however, will always be Eslami’s foundation: “It’s not just a base, but something quite playful,” she says. “You have more limited choice of material, [of] shape—if you work in fashion, you can work in volumes. But it’s a nice exercise.”
FOR MORE ON YASMINE ESLAMI, VISIT HER WEBSITE.