YSO - spring/summer 2002

YSOIn the Spring/Summer 2002 womenswear line, a 1920's cabaret-style beige and crimson satin chevron skirt with crimson cross-laced camisole and shoulder sash competes with black satin high-cut flared pants with bias-cut hems for most stunning piece. Ysotrick, Yso's new menswear line in collaboration with Patrick Pepin, uses delicate fabric to reveal a virile masculinity.
A sleeveless top sports feather-like vine applique creeping up the torso. A cropped denim jacket with denim pants are both fitted - but allow room to breathe. If Southidara seems to exist on an ethereal plane, it is because he is at one with his pieces of poetic complexity. But make no mistake: any amount of time spent with the designer reveals that he has a strong command and grounded view of the industry forces at work in the Montreal fashion milieu.

What would an electrified Montreal evening be without a star-studded cocktail event spilling out onto the street between spotlights and limousines? This is typical for Yso, Montreal’s fashion darling de rigeur. Souvenirs D’Indochine, Siphay Southidara’s Spring/Summer 2002 collection of deluxe fantasy matched note for note the bittersweet meanderings of the accompanying cello. Would the car crash 20 feet from the sidewalk runway derail this moment in time? Not a chance.

Yso invited Minimidimaxi to his studio the following day to talk shop.

MMM: You seem to haunt the contemporary world from an era of lost romanticism.

YSO: The 20’s, 30’s and 40’s all possess this quality of fragility and vulnerability. It’s about beautiful creatures coming down the stairs to disturb the urban scene. I want people to feel like they’re in a waking dream.

MMM: Vulnerability is strength.

YSO: Yes, and the bias cut is a strong cut because of that extra dimension.

MMM: Tell me about the inhabitation of space…any thoughts?

YSO: I used to be a dancer. In choreography and dance you have to know space. Similarly, I design with the knowledge that there is a person living in the clothes. It’s interesting that you ask that. If I had to possess something, it would be space and time.

MMM: Into what areas of the fashion industry do you think further investment would best be spent?

YSO: Definitely into the structure of production. To enable designers to be ready to respond to the demand. The manufacturer-designer is a structurally perfect model. Marketing is important, but the business community doesn’t realize that talent is part of marketing. You need fantasy to sell. It’s all in the power of the image. You have to assume.

MMM: That assumption will be seen as confidence and translate into…..

YSO: Sales! (laughs) But in the big picture, it takes a movement to get things going. Fashion, theatre, dance and film all have to cooperate to get the ball rolling.

MMM: You recently participated in a joint project to design a dress in under 60 minutes with a non-fashion material.

YSO: Yes, it’s on display at the Musée Contemporain in Montreal….do you know what really inspires me? When I see someone doing something different with one of my pieces, a combination I hadn’t thought of.

MMM: What exactly does Yso offer the marketplace?

YSO: Exclusivity. Made-to-measure couture as well as ready-to-wear separates. But I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m simply offering consumers another choice.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer