Yasmine Eslami's Lingerie Vision
Could you tell me a little bit about your background?
Yeah, styling. I also worked for Westwood in London. For 10 years, I was designing collections. And I went to fashion school in Paris. I was doing lingerie, but it wasn’t my obsession.
So it’s not like you have an agenda of making people’s lives better with lingerie?
[Laughs] No, I’ve always liked it and looked at it. I’ve bought a lot of vintage lingerie. But underwear is what you wear underneath your clothes, so it’s a bit limited. It’s more about the cut and the fit.
It has limits, whereas we can deconstruct our clothes. So you like how it’s a bit confined?
Yes, it has to fit the body and has to be comfortable. So, with everything that goes with it, I think it’s a nice subject to work on. I also used to do castings, so I’m always thinking of the people I know, the girls I know. So, it’s also having this in mind to design for all the girls. Underwear, or lingerie, really has this image that is connected with seduction, which is fine because I think girls want to be pretty. But this is not my message—being this seductive, pin-up woman. It’s 2017, so the girl doesn’t need to have this image. You’re an active woman, so of course you want to please your boyfriend or girlfriend, but it’s not the priority.
It’s more about how you feel. Then the visual comes on top of it?
Yes. I think people who only do lingerie only have lingerie references, but if you work in fashion, you have references from everywhere. You can be inspired by art or music, whatever. That way, you bring more things into the brand or idea. Lingerie is limited, so if you come from a more fashion background, the way the lingerie comes together is different.
What story do you want to tell with your lingerie, rather than just being “sexy”?
It depends on the model and also on the photographer, I think. Each photographer has a different way of seeing things. I always like to see what lead the photographer wants to do. Of course, you bring your part and a stylist, but it’s nice to let the photographers express themselves because if you shoot with different ones, it’s going to be completely different. Even if you use the same girl and the same clothes, you could get a completely different picture.
If you could pick any photographer—dead or alive—to shoot your next campaign, who would it be?
There’s so many, from famous ones to not-so-famous ones. I like Wolfgang Tillmans, or Juergen Teller. Guy Bourdin was great.
It’s funny with underwear because people always link it to something sexy, which is obviously what it is.
Yeah, there’s a lot of fantasy that goes into lingerie. It’s linked to a lot of things.
Is there anything not sexy when it comes to underwear?
I’m sure there are things that aren’t sexy. Sometimes really padded bras don’t look that sexy.
[Laughs] The ones that your friends in high school used to wear.
I know teenage girls wear them sometimes because they want to have bigger tits, and then when they grow older, they don’t have to do it anymore. But I see grown ups wearing them, too. Every breast is nice.
Do you consider girls' body image issues in any way?
I have a shop in Paris, and I like to spend time with customers when they come and try things on. Some girls want to try things on, and it is an issue because for men it’s a big fantasy, but for girls it can also be a body image issue. They have a completely wrong vision of their own body.
They think they have to look a certain way.
Yeah. It can be difficult. For girls, it can be a tough world. It can be difficult to be happy with your body. There are many different aspects that come into play, not just the bra.
There’s a long way before female body image is fully liberated.
Yeah. And lingerie can take quite a long time to sell. If you sell something like T-shirts, it’s completely different.
So your underwear is for all sizes?
Yeah. On some bras, we go up to F size, which is really nice because I have many friends that have big tits. It’s hard to find them bras that fit.
Do you see differences in the markets from one country to another?
America is more about big boobs.
Do you also see differences in the styles they choose?
In Europe, they don’t want panties that are too small. They like more boxer shorts of a bit wider of a waist. In America, they really want strings.
Yeah. In France, they don’t really want strings anymore.
It’s like 2000, coming back again. It’s so funny because Americans still wear strings because we’re a little behind. And we’re going to start wearing them in Europe again as a counter fashion reaction, so Americans end up being super avant garde, in a way.
Yeah. I also think it depends on what you wear. I know some girls who don’t mind having panty lines, but sometimes, like when everyone started wearing skinny jeans, you have to adapt. It’s really interesting.