An up and coming couture prodigy, Yiqinq Yin, has been announced as a new face for the high watchmaking maison Vacheron Constantin. Part of the “One of not many” campaign, Yin brings to life the Egérie women’s collection, launched in February 2020. The Swiss luxury watch and clock manufacturer was founded in 1755 and is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world.
The Beijing native left China at age 4, ultimately studying at the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Her craft saw her create supple, flou couture garments, volumes in motion, with an emphasis on pleats. “I am attracted to an intuitive method of creation, a sensory wandering and a search for voluntary accidents,” she says. This desire for discovery is a quest shared with the artisans of Vacheron Constantin and the Egérie collection, which features a pleated dial and off-center design aesthetic. The spectacular timepieces make an elegant nod to the world of couture with sparkling diamonds recalling embroidered crystals bejeweling gowns while calligraphic 18kt gold numerals ground the watches with decided power. The three models include self-winding, moon phase, and moon phase diamond-pavé in 18kt pink gold, white gold, and steel.
Yin has proven herself to be an is an all-encompassing artist, exploring various practices. She has created art for the Venice Biennale, and collaborated with the world of dance by designing costumes for the Paris étoile ballet dancers Dorothée Gilbert and Mathieu Ganio for Tristan and Iseult. She was awarded the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris in 2009 and has seen her ephemeral work showcased in the windows of the Ministry of Culture, the Chaillot National Theater, and at the Joyce Gallery. In June 2011, she won the ANDAM (Association Nationale pour le Développement des Arts de la Mode/ANDAM Fashion Award Paris) and held her first runway show at Paris couture fashion week. She was named one of eight young “designers to watch” by French Vogue. From 2012, Yin has been included in the Fédération Française de la Couture official calendar as a guest member and in December 2015, the Fédération Française de la Mode rewarded her work through the attribution of the Haute Couture appellation. The artist, who is currently working on a film project, has previously collaborated with brands such as Cartier, Guerlain, Hermès, Swarovski, and Lancôme.
Vogue Arabia in an exclusive conversation with Yiqing Yin.
What does couture mean to you?
For me, haute couture is a laboratory for passionate, poetic experimentation where new ideas and stories freely encounter exquisite heritage and craftsmanship to push back all known boundaries of beauty and emotion. It is a platform of expression at the crossroads of fashion and art where everything is possible, and governed by the constant pursue of excellence and singularity.
What was the first haute couture dress you invested in and how did it make you feel?
The first dress I ever made and wore myself was hand sculpted in ivory organza, “piqué au chic.” That dress resembled an evanescent cloud. In it I felt like I was clad in a soft second skin armor made of fumes.
Describe a couture dress that you would like to create one day.
I would love to create a real crystal dress as an expression of nature’s ever-changing elements. The dress could be an evolving canvas exposed to the elements, on which the salt water and wind write their own story as the crystallization slowly spreads upon the fabric, to finally become a sculptural sensation. Haute chemistry.
How did you become involved with Vacheron Constantin?
It is the singular elegance of the house and its exceptional aura, which seduced me at first. Embodying the Vacheron Constantin women’s collection is an honor. The Maison came to me with the idea of a collection that weaves both poetic and aesthetic links between the world of haute couture and fine watchmaking, traditionally associated with masculine realms, and so I found it to be very audacious, as it promised to be a tribute to the constant search for excellence, beauty, and innovation, which unites our two worlds. There was a great common story there to write, through our mutual love of the authentic, and search for the singular. As a creative, I believe I share the core values of the house: the emotion of the handmade and the unique, and an inventive approach to exceptional creative craftsmanship, an obsession with details, and a constant quest for new horizons.
Can you describe the woman who would gravitate to such a watch?
One with perfect taste of course. An active, independent, and cultured woman, who has the taste for something unique that allows her to develop an exceptional identity. She’s extremely elegant but devoid of artifice and dresses in the spirit of the present moment to make it her own. A powerful woman, the kind that truly can make a difference in the world around her, through her authenticity.
What are the technical particularities about the watch that most appeal to you?
The Egérie Phase de Lune with the moon phase mechanism is my favorite, for the poetry and the emotion it invokes. It is an invitation to dream and to travel in the imagination. I have always been fascinated by the moon, bewitching and mysterious. For me, it embodies the power of transformation and creativity par excellence. The moon phases not only influence the tides, the cycles of fauna and flora, but also our emotions. This horological complication allows us to adopt another awareness of time, more intuitive and closer to nature. Another measure, another space, the sense of time other than dictated by our iPhone. Beyond its primary function, I love the Moon Phase particularity for what it represents: a symbolic open door to the stars and the origin of time which captivates me so much. For me, it’s a reminder to always keep my feet on the ground but my head firmly in the clouds.