Even as today’s design aesthetic becomes très casual, Yeojin Bae continues to stick to what she is inimitably good at, formal tailoring. There’s a certain duality to the pieces she creates and the modern sartorialist in all of us clamber for Bae’s intrepid structure and feminine two tone designs.
Almost ten years after taking home the Tiffany & Co Young Designer of the Year Award, Bae’s double crepe pencil skirts and bonded satin dresses fruitfully adorn Myer’s shelves and are regularly listed in Aussie Vogue, US Elle, Russh and Nylon Magazines. A collaboration with Australia’s largest department store chain, Target in the same year saw Bae become a recognisable style identity within the industry. “I’m with Myer now,” she said, “I won the Young Designer award here in 2007 and ever since then I think I became on their radar.” Having worked with avatars in the industry like Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui and Charlie Brown, it was only a matter of time before Bae went solo.
While her audibly ladylike collections comprise mostly of garments reserved for special social engagements, the namesake label is surprisingly accessible. What’s so appealing about Bae’s designs is that they aren’t everyday wear. The word ‘casual’ doesn’t appear in the brands lexicon, and for this reason her signature effeminate designs frequently don runways and wedding aisles alike.
With a penchant for sharp tailoring, Bae says there’s a transition towards more fashion-forward, cutting edge silhouettes for bridesmaids. “I like structured tailoring, cream coloured dresses and mismatched lengths. Also red as a signature colour. Traditionally in Asia the bride would wear red, it symbolises good luck.”
“It’s all barefoot and flowy dresses at the moment,” she said with levity, “the bohemian thing is great but it’s not everyone’s aesthetic or taste. There are a lot of brides that don’t want a traditional wedding gown and bridesmaids are thrilled that they can wear their dress again.”
If you’re a woman, you’re familiar with that feeling of euphoria when you find an item of apparel that actually fits. For Yeojin fit is far more important than fashion. “One thing I can do as a female designer is work out silhouettes that flatter the shape. For example, I did a lot of backless dresses last season but I don’t cut the back straight to the waistband. I lift it up about 3cm so once you’re tucked in, it flattens out. It’s the little things that women appreciate. Even though it’s more work and production I know it’s going to have a better result.”
Feeding Bae’s creativity and her fashion line is her love affair with Paris. “We travel to France a lot as my husband is French,” the designer said. The labels decidedly Parisian influence incorporates minimalist basics (the little black dress) and that unspoken French allure we’ve all tried to replicate once or twice before.
Shop Yeojin Bae’s complete AW ’16 Dress Code Collection here.