JB: Can you tell me what being inspired feels like to you?
AY: It feels like I'm coming to life. It feels like energy, happiness, and excitement. Color makes me feel totally inspired, and it also makes me extremely happy. A pile of assorted color can completely change my mood. I wonder if this happens to other people?
JB: How long do you spend researching a collection?
AY: Technically speaking, we have about a month to research for each collection. But, it's a constant and continual process.
JB: And so, how do you begin?
AY: There's really no beginning. I'm always gathering things and putting them into piles for later sorting. Being inspired is such an integral part of my work. It's kind of the same thing as needing to eat food every day. Beyond going to museums or researching vintage, I try to find and see the beautiful things in my every day life. I can be inspired by someone I see on the street, or how some shadows are, or a cool building on the side of the highway.
This is a photo i took in my hotel room in Paris.
A cool floor that I was walking on
JB: Have the subjects that inspire you changed a lot through the years?
AY: No, not really. They vary from season to season, but always fall into the same camps. I don’t flip flop around, it’s more of an evolution. I’ll go back to inspiration from a prior season, and look at it differently. I don’t really re-invent. It’s more about refining for me. I am always searching for new stuff, but I am drawn to the same kinds of things.
JB: What are some of the subjects or themes that you keep coming back to?
AY: The Twenties, 1997, and the Victorian period.
Miu Miu 1997
I also love imagery of cultures that mixed Victorian dress with their own fashion and style. The Herero Tribe of Namibia, Southern Africa is a beautiful example. They adopted the German missionaries' Victorian style floor length gowns and mixed the silhouette with their sense of vivid color and cow horn shaped headdresses.
Photo by Jim Naughten
JB: What movies have inspired you?
AY: Harold and Maude by Hal Ashby. The Color of Pomegranates by Sergie Parajanov. Black Girl by Ousmane Sembene.
It's not a movie, but I love The Jelly Film by artist Jenny Van Sommers
JB: What artists inspire you most?
AY: Rachel Feinstein, Rudolph Stingel, Kara Walker, Rachel Whiteread, John Currin, and Joe-Graham Felsen.
The Shack ~ Rachel Feinstein, 2001
JB: What photographers are you most drawn to?
AY: Roni Horn, Sara Moon, Irving Penn, and Philip-Lorca DiCorcia.
JB: Have you seen anything recently that has stuck with you?
AY: Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim
JB: How about places?
AY: Zion National Park, I went there a couple of years ago with my kids.