Michigan-born designer Ann Yee has worked for such fabulous names as Elizabeth & James and LaROK, as well as for a private company whose clients include Alice + Olivia and Barney’s. With that kind of CV, there was never any doubt that her own recently launched line would flourish. Yee tells us about her favorite blogs, who thinks she’s a risk taker, and shares some of her favorite food and fashion spots in her inherited hometown of New York.
Name: Ann Yee
Occupation: Fashion Designer
Location: Nolita, NYC
SC: First thing’s first– where do you shop? Do you have a secret store?
Ann Yee: Opening Ceremony is at the very top of my list for innovative and under-the-radar fashion. I also love finding unique, vintage pieces at Hells Kitchen Flea Market and Narnia.
SC: How would you describe your style in one sentence?
AY: My personal style is a mix of old and new, high-end and vintage, with a tendency to wear oversized, comfortable pieces to play with proportion.
SC: What is the ultimate item on your wish list this season?
AY: A pair of worn-in, flat, lace-up boots in black. Still searching though…
SC: Who are your favorite designers?
AY: Hussein Chalayan for his innovative style. 5th Ave Shoe Repair has great, wearable clothing with the right amount of idiosyncrasy. Love, love, love Preen and VPL.
SC: If you could swap closets with anyone, who would it be?
AY: Iris Apfel.
SC: What are your favorite online destinations?
SC: If you had a time machine, which style era would you visit first?
AY: London in the 60s.
SC: What has been the most challenging aspect of starting your own line? Most rewarding?
AY: Time management has been a hard battle since I still continue to work full-time (also as a fashion designer). But seeing my work finally hit stores has been worth all of the sleepless nights.
SC: If you could emulate the style of a fictional character, who would it be?
AY: Auntie Mame.
SC: Tell us about the five pieces you find yourself buying, wearing, and replacing over and over again.
AY: An oversized blazer, opaque tights, big lucite rings, silk trousers, and vintage oxfords.
SC: How much is too much to spend on a pair of shoes?
AY: Im such a bargain shopper, so I would have to say over $200.
SC: Who is your style soulmate?
AY: Chloe Sevigny– I want to have her fashion baby.
SC: Its your Final Supper– who’s there and what meal do you ask for?
AY: The cast from My So Called Life, and the artichoke dip from Freemans (NYC).
SC: What trend were you happy to see return and which would you like to see die?
AY: Ive been wearing harem pants forever, so Im glad to see them on the runways lately. I was going to say Uggs, but they are not really a trend. What about Jeggings? The name alone is just silly.
SC: What theme song best describes your life?
AY: The theme song from Clarissa Explains It All.
SC: Describe your design philosophy and inspirations.
AY: I dont limit myself to any particular genre for inspiration. I basically allow myself to be open to anything and everything at all times– whether it be art, travel, architecture, films, or even random objects.
SC: Favorite magazine editrix past, present, or fictional?
AY: Diana Vreeland– from Harpers Bazaar and former editor-in-chief of Vogue.
SC: Best city to shop?
AY: London– because they are risk-takers and not afraid of color. Now, if only the dollar were stronger.
SC: Favorite childhood TV show?
AY: Whos the Boss?– of course.
SC: Which designer would you most like to collaborate with?
AY: Hedi Slimane.
SC: How would your best friend describe you?
AY: Ive heard that I am the hardest working person she knows, but also the most tired– which I can certainly attest to. She would probably say I am a whimsical risk taker who loves to eat!
SC: Whats playing on your iPod right now?
AY: Devendra Banhart, Beach House, Beirut, and Cold Cave.
SC: Youve worked for labels like LaROK and Elizabeth & James– how does the creative process of designing for others differ from designing for your own line?
AY: Besides the creative control, I dont have to operate as systematically and can concept how and when I please.
SC: Do you have a signature recipe? If so, can you share it with us?
AY: I make a mean eggplant parm. The secret ingredient is pretzels, but thats all I can give away.
SC: Whats next?
AY: You never know– accessories could be on the horizon.