The delightful string of women designers continues this morning with Yiqing Yin at Lèonard Paris. This is Yin’s second collection for the house and it is easy to see how her love for prints merges well with the history of lush graphics for which Lèonard is known. While last season saw a number of large and voluminous gowns, though, Ms. Yin goes much smaller for this spring/summer season and does so quite beautifully.

Prints, of course, are the first thing one notices with any Lèonard collection. This year, they are floral (no big surprise there, either) and range from the very bright red to surprisingly somber blues. The lighter pastels on chiffon may be the more cool choice from the collection, but the bright red on silk is easily the one that stands out the most and will likely be remembered when it comes time to place orders.

Ms. Yin told The Wall Street Journal last week that she designs, “for me and my friends by observing people. I look at how girls live, how they party, how they dress in the morning.” That statement is quite evident in this collection as it is rife with “party” looks such as bikini and halter tops, denim jumpers and relaxed legged slacks. This is a very comfortable silhouette that gives the younger woman ample opportunity to express herself. Yet, one wants to be careful to not miss just how intelligently crafted these garments are. Yiqing has a knack for folding and gathering that gives traditional shapes a contemporary twist right when it’s needed the most. There are times when one might wish the prints weren’t so busy so as to not distract so much from the elaborate construction put into the clothing.

The looks are all soft and trendy, very full with trailing tails and billowing fabrics, hints of kimono here and there, but also pieces with a bit of 70s influence and still others that look more to the 90s. While looks are comfortable, there is enough structure in both design and fabric to communicate that these are not cheaply made clothes. Yin manages to include a touch of elegance in everything she touches.

Yin is still very young and very new so we have to expect that she’s still in the process of defining her core aesthetic. What we saw today, though, was unique enough for her to stand out and give cause to take notice. Yiqing Yin is going places and taking Lèonard Paris along with her.

Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier

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