Most boutique lingerie labels don’t change their signature styles much from one season to the next, so the notion of releasing a greatest hits collection doesn’t make much sense.
But that’s not the case for Yes Master, the esoteric UK label that just released a 10th anniversary assortment that recycles some of its most memorable prints and styles.
Called Smoke and Mirrors, the new lingerie and swimwear collection for SS15 gives the busy brand a chance to catch its breath and reflect, with deserved pride, on its unpredictable journey so far.
Yes Master is a kind of anti-brand that abhors trends and whose iconoclastic designs often seem like a rebuke to the inherent conservatism of the fashion world. As a result it’s had an up-and-down history, veering from wacky cult label to adored tastemaker — sometimes in a single year.
It’s been mostly up for the past couple of years, though, thanks to YM’s introduction of swimwear to its catalogue and some very savvy collaborations with retail partners. Once known for its high-concept artsy themes, Yes Master today is more widely associated with its pop-art digital prints for youth-oriented retailers like ModCloth, Urban Outfitters and Topshop.
The Smoke and Mirrors anniversary collection is like a guidebook to Yes Master‘s peculiar alchemy, as designer Igor Pacemski revisits many of his earlier inspirations: fairy tales, animals, the occult, and anything associated with the planetary cosmos.
Thus, a print of lunar phases from its Howling at the Moon collection gets a new treatment here, as does the bestselling Black Swan print from 2012, which marked YM’s pivot towards novelty graphics. And last season’s Game of Thrones-inspired dragon-scale print makes a welcome return in a new swimsuit.
According to Pacemski, the Smoke and Mirrors collection is all about “the transformative powers of the woman”, “mythical hybrid beings” and “the theory of chaos and its complexity behind the shape-shifting of smoke.” That’s a LOT to absorb, but thankfully you don’t have to share his headspace to appreciate his artistry.
The sultry new smoke print is the defining look in the new collection (it appears in the Alice in Wonderland range), while the Bird Woman style grouping (above) blends some feathered imagery from one of Yes Master‘s most memorable collections, the La Luna series from 2010.
And, perhaps as a marker to show how much Pacemski’s design flair has evolved in the past decade, Smoke and Mirrors even brings back the all-black Tinkerbell lingerie dress (below) — the first style piece released under the Yes Master brand 10 years ago.
Yes Master these days is a hard brand to keep track of, which is part of the fun. It’s doing goth-inspired highly textured swimsuits in its Darkside diffusion label, traditional Liberty print pajamas, and even these space-themed bed linens at the same time.
At this rate, it won’t have to wait 10 years for its next greatest hits package.
Here are some more images from Yes Master‘s stylish lookbook for SS15. This is the rare brand that can be found in premium boutiques and fast-fashion retailers, so shop around.
Yes Master is going to have to stop referring to itself as a cult label.
First, cult is very much a four-letter word these days (just ask Tom Cruise). And second, the artsy, idiosyncratic British boutique label is showing up in too many closets now to be considered anyone‘s personal fashion secret.
Since its launch in 2005, Yes Master and its founder Igor Pacemski have earned a kind of contrarian, trends-be-damned reputation. The label’s sporadic lingerie and swim collections were glamorous, ambitious and just a little odd — the sort of thing coveted by magazine photographers looking for wild, unique styles. The result, predictably, was that Yes Master ended up with many more admirers than customers.
But that’s all changing. The lingerie market has begun to embrace edgy indie labels with attention-getting looks (witness the popularity of Dirty Pretty Things, for example).
And, more importantly, Yes Master has looked toward the mainstream and found a market niche that suits its fondness for fashion expressionism — the pop-art digital print movement that has swept the fast fashion world.
Yes Master has worked with original prints in the past, but it began toying with pop prints last year in an exclusive collection for Urban Outfitters, targeting a younger crowd and much lower price point than it was accustomed to. The result was a certifiable hit; YM’s pieces sold out quickly and the partnership breathed new life into the label.
Now, even bigger news: Yes Master has been picked up by trend-conscious mega-retailer Topshop for distribution in its stores worldwide.
What caught the eye of Topshop buyers were Yes Master’s forthcoming ranges for Spring 2013 called Black Horse and Howling Wolf, featuring digital prints of leaping stallions and wailing canines. The prints have been adapted for use in plunge bras, knickers, chiffon teddies and the fringed kimono you see above.
The collection will be available next month in Topshop stores in London, New York, Moscow, Tokyo, L.A. and Sydney.
Longtime fans of Yes Master will agree that Igor and his team have paid their dues as fashion lingerie outliers and are overdue for this kind of exposure. Others will pine for those early days when Yes Master was producing elaborate feather bras and other awesome oddities. Alas, you can’t have both.
Here’s a few of the pieces you’ll find when Yes Master reaches Topshop stores.
Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone. It makes lots of people feel lonely, inadequate, unloved and forgotten.
Many others feel uncomfortable about the endless commercialization of love itself, or about the notion of designating just a single day each year for romantic expression.
Those are difficult truths to face in the lingerie business, which relies heavily on the sales resulting from glossy seasonal promotions driven by romantic and erotic clichés at this time of year. The entire industry puts on rose-colored glasses where Valentine’s Day is concerned, out of sheer commercial necessity.
That’s why it’s always refreshing when someone in the industry pushes back against the relentless juggernaut of V-Day marketing.
The UK luxury label Yes Master — whose products probably made nice gifts for some lucky sweethearts today — posted a column on its blog today that offers an alternative view on Valentine’s Day.
Their article is called “Anti Heart” and we’ve reproduced an edited version below. You can read the original here.
The Sex and the City scene where Miranda and Carrie go for a single-gals’ meal and then have a massive falling out amidst a cacophony of hearts, equally insincere couples, patronizing waiting staff and twice-the-price-cause-it’s-heart-shaped menu to me at least sums up the complete waste of time that is the modern day Valentine’s Day.
St. Valentine was a saint who was martyred during the rule of Emperor Aurelius, some say. Others claim he was an African saint. The more skeptical among you would say it’s an American tradition, brought to us by the Victorians with the idea of increasing the number of card sales, sort of like a red nose day for lovers.
We are not sure when the panoply of tack was associated with this day. Laden with heart-shaped food, sickly sweet things with lots of chocolate shavings, out-of-season raspberries, pink champagne (well, Lindauer probably) and the emotional inadequacy of a teenage girl with puppy fat and braces rocking a rah-rah for the first time, this is a day that we can frankly do without.
Our gals are, from what we have seen, ladies that tend to do it for themselves. All of our customers (bar one) to date have been women shopping for themselves. We are proud of that and we kinda want to keep it girl-focused.
Our girl may attempt to make a heart-shaped pancake, but only at 3 a.m., after she has been through several chocolate martinis at the Connaught.
She may express her love by booking a trip to Paris at 3 a.m. on a whim. Believe us, we have done it.
Her other half, be it her or a she, will be more stealth than a trad red with nightmarish red roses in tow.
Teddy bears are a sackable offence at YM HQ.
We love to love at Yes Master HQ, but not for one day of the year. To us, Valentine’s Day is the amorous equivalent of a fad diet — it will leave you tired, empty, hungry and make you binge and put it all back on.
The always-interesting Yes Master is giving us an early look at their bewitching Fall 2011 collection called Glamery, which we talked about last month.
In addition to a handful of lookbook images below, the UK luxury label has also just come out with one of the most stylish promotional films of the season, the haunting White Witch video featuring Emily Browning’s version of “Sweet Dreams” for the soundtrack.
If you recall, the Glamery collection delves into the mystical arts of love potions, stargazing and other ‘white magic’ belief systems from the Middle Ages and earlier. Check out the Star Luna bodysuit below with its celestial print and you’ll get a sense of how Yes Master turns fashion design into a search for meaning.
Another sure winner from the fall line is the shimmering pink Boudoir Perfume ensemble shown in the top photo and again below, with its very creative use of tassels in unexpected places.
Enjoy the video and photos below but be warned: you’re bound to fall under Yes Master’s spell.
Lookbook Images — Yes Master F/W 2011
The most original photo campaign of the new season belongs to Yes Master, the edgy UK lingerie label with a fondness for big concepts and dramatic statement lingerie.
We haven’t seen the lookbook for Yes Master’s fall-winter collection yet, but that’s no reason not to share its photo campaign now. Perhaps by fall we’ll have figured it all out!
The campaign features the otherworldly effects of photographer Paulina Otylie Surys, who has placed her YM model in a woodland setting and then hand-tinted the resulting images. The poses suggest a religious or devotional theme — think pagan worship as captured by Pre-Raphaelite painters, tripping on hallucinogens.
All of this is very heady stuff, but that’s what we like about Yes Master: designer Igor Pacemski‘s collections are always about something (remember last fall’s shocking and brilliant tribute to ’60s fashion trailblazer Donyale Luna?). This is lingerie that doubles as a conversation starter.
The fall collection is bound to draw plenty of attention, too.
The collection is called Glamery, a very archaic word that is the root of the equally obscure glamoury: the mystical art of creating spells that bewitch the senses and ‘glamourize’ the subject to attract suitors. Long before there was makeup and hair color and cosmetic surgery, this is how women enchanted men.
Yes Master draws its inspiration from the ‘white magic’ of female alchemists (and their colorful bottled love potions, above) as well as celestial star patterns that favored romance.
The new collection features two ranges: the Black Label line, which includes a magnificent Swarovski-encrusted night-sky print (which we’ve seen); and the Contemporary Boudoir range with a color palette bearing names like White Magic, Hubble Bubble and Volcanic Passion.
Yes Master innocently describes their new collection as “luxury basics for day or dressed up for the evening,” but based on what we’ve seen so far, it’ll be a lot more than that.
Igor Pacemski is becoming the mad scientist of the luxury lingerie world: always exploring, always provocative, and always concocting something new from unlikely sources. And, once again, his young label may have the most talked-about collection of the year.
Here’s the new photo campaign for Glamery. Watch for product information coming soon.