With her love of Bauhaus and Kandinsky and her personal penchant for clothes which encompass both boyish and feminine in equal measure, Julie Eilenberger has injected her creative stamp into YMC’s AW14 womenswear collection. Taking inspiration from the aforementioned artists, with luxury materials also in mind, Eilenberger’s AW14 provides androgynous silhouettes, nautical notes and a plethora of colour and texture. We catch up with Julie Eilenberger herself to find out how she is bringing womenswear to the forefront of cult British label, YMC.
Let’s start with your transition into YMC – obviously you took over the womens line that Fraser had previously been working on, how did this come about?
It was kind of a casual thing because I knew the people that ran it. They needed somebody, a woman, to come in and start doing the womenswear and Selene, who works with the YMC team, thought it would be nice to have me on board. It started as a freelance thing but its never just a freelance thing – it takes over you’re life. I also don’t like to do things by half, I like to see things through, so I couldn’t just hand over my drawings to my assistant and be like: “Okay I’m off”! I wanted to be part of the fittings as well and everything, so a month into it, it became a full time thing, you know, organising photo shoots and bringing everything together at the end of the season – that’s the most exciting part – but no one had done that before. Now the collections are growing and they’re starting to sell really well.
So this winter’s collection includes a lot of primary colour and knitwear. What was the decision behind that?
I was very inspired by primary colour along with Bauhaus and Kandinsky in particular who’s all about primary colours. I studied in Berlin for three years so obviously you’re pushed into the whole Bauhaus thing but I just found it fascinating. I always went to this small Bauhaus museum in west Berlin. They put on a new show every few months but it’s always really particular: one month its all about posters and graphics, the next month it’ll be all about architecture and the next month it’ll be similarities between Japanese design and German Bauhaus. So for me I think that just fit the whole YMC thing. I mixed that with some nautical references because that fits really well with the primary colours and the Bauhaus graphics, it’s kind of boyish but feminine at the same time, which I’m all about, that mixture of feminine and masculine.
What about the materials?
I like really pure materials and that was important to me when I came to YMC, that everything should be as natural as possible and YMC is that kind of brand. It’s not always easy when you’re working with countries all over the world, making sure that everyone is doing what you want, but it really makes the difference in a jumper. I wanted to bring that luxury material aspect to YMC whilst staying feminine and boyish at the same time.
What about your own line, is that something you still do?
No, I’ve got no time for that. The whole YMC thing happened around the same time I decided to do my own thing. I was working for Sophie Hulme and doing my own thing on the side. I did decide to do it properly, but then I got poached by YMC and they told me it was part time, but that didn’t really work. And I never realised that you can’t do both things.
What aspects of your own line have you brought to YMC?
I was always playing a lot with structure – different structures and materials and the balance between something masculine and feminine. I think my look was a lot more ‘fashion’ whilst YMC is more what I wear personally, and what my friends where personally. When I was doing my own thing it was more that I needed to let stuff out of my brain, whereas with YMC it’s more of a ‘what do I want to wear?’ approach.
How would you describe the YMC woman this winter?
I think she’s someone who cares a lot about quality, and cares about buying a piece that can last. In terms of fashion season and trend season, but also in terms of quality. Our customers come in for a jumper that they want to keep for a few seasons. It’s not just a trend.She’s definitely a girl who’s not too girly but there are some dresses you could wear out. She’s somebody who likes to come in with her boyfriend who might also pick up a few things.
Or she can pick up some clothes from the guys section too!
A lot more people are starting to do that!
So aside from art, what else inspires you?
I think I always go crazy with different sounds. I called my dad last week and was like: “I need some jazz right now, what can you recommend?” and he was like “Here’s my spotify playlist”. And then I went through this phase where I was listening to a lot of soul from the 70s, so I go through different phases with music. But its funny because now I’ve been getting into this 70s vibe so then I’ll start watching movies from that era, and then I’ll start dressing like them subconsciously! But I love movies and I love music, but it’s not like one thing influences me, it’s everything.
So if we look to SS15, what can you give away?
For summer I brought over some of the nautical references from the winter and pushed that more. So a lot of nautical references, sort of French Riviera – lots of blues and denims and whites, mixed with a Japanese effect and lots of volumes and blacks and whites. It’s very graphic – I always go very graphic I think. Some nice Breton stripes and some exciting bags as well, we’re really starting to push the whole accessories department, and for the winter, which I’m working on at the moment, it’s even bigger.