- elysium.editorial: We found the words ‘minimalism, sophistication, and capturing a luxurious moment...’ within your bio. Does said minimalism constrict that which a viewer can relate to?
Habib.Yahyaoui: It depends on how you approach minimalism. The parts of minimalism I use in my work are the clean lines, even when I make use of several layers.
e.e: & ‘...while adding a raw modern edge.’ What to you constitutes as a raw modern edge, furthermore what or who would you consider creatively modern?
H.Y: The designs that look unfinished but are made exquisitely with total care, these designs are raw and modern in my opinion. Carol Christian Poell is a master in this. He uses raw materials and cuts the clothes in a non-traditional way. What I like most is that he wears each of his pants before they go out the door for shipment, the pants will fit the customer much better this way. That’s modern.
e.e: A used garment Instantly brings to mind the comfort and expressive age of vintage and second-hand clothing. Would you ever consider exploring such a worn wardrobe within your work?
H.Y: You know, the word vintage gives me a very strange feeling. This is because this word is used to describe everything that is worn maybe once before, but it shouldn’t be that way. unfortunately these days anyone who is no one describes it as vintage. To answer the question, I would use vintage pieces within my styling wardrobe. Actually I used a beautiful brooch from Christian Dior for the Prestage #4 story, a beautiful piece covered with crystals.
e.e: So often people wrongly administer the title of 'avant-garde' without considering the criteria. This would appear to be a similar case of misusing and in effect cheapening a term - since 'vintage' defines enduring appeal over a sizeable period of time - would you agree?
H.Y: Certainly, people aren’t so eager to engage their brain these days.
- e.e: You’ve had a notable involvement with such publications as GLAMCULT & FIASCO how would you typically decide which creative platform you want to walk?
H.Y: I think the most important reason for me to work with someone is when the client shares a part of my vision. I’m not blind-sighted to work for a publication on the strength of their name alone.
e.e: Julius Gerhardt crops up a few times throughout your portfolio. Are there any fresh aesthetically gifted faces currently grasping your attention in the world of male modeling?
H.Y: Demy Matzen, his face is BEYOND.
e.e: I was fond of the sense of armory in your editorial for VESTAL 2012, what were the general ideas behind dressing this overtly glam-warrior?
H.Y: Mixing a masculine wardrobe within feminine pieces was the first thought for the story. I wanted to create a woman that was powerful and masculine without losing her femininity.
e.e: Your work for Prestage #4 engages through its simplicity, an ethereal attainability that cleanses the aesthetic palette with its refreshing clarity. Is there a certain stage within styling when one should stop, step back and suppose the aim has been achieved without over-playing the wardrobe?
H.Y: There comes a point where a stylist must stop and look at what they have done, sometimes it means altering the look because it didn’t work and re-shooting. When I did the story with Jasper Abels and the lovely model Josefien Rodermans, we worked with the words ‘clean’ and ‘natural.’ I don’t usually like over-styling, because people get confused and can’t appreciate the whole image.
e.e: Is it important that the ideas within your outfits should be sourced and ripened within the viewer’s own wardrobe?
- H.Y: It is not, but it is important to inspire the viewers to buy the garments shown or to dream when seeing a perfect cut dress from Azzedine Alaïa. They will understand completely a carefully selected garment than a busy combination of dress, skirt, jacket, long coat etc. Understanding fashion is one thing but understanding the cut is another, it’s a language and it should be the stylist’s mother-tongue.
e.e: You have styled work by Rad Hourani, an individual whom describes his clothing as ‘sophisticated, unisex, modern classics for anti-conformist individuals.’ Would you consider yourself to be an anti-conformist?
H.Y: I appreciate what Rad Hourani does, his aesthetics and ideals, though I do not consider myself an anti-conformist. I don’t believe there is a word that can describe me.
e.e: Could that previous sentence not be considered anti-conformist?
H.Y: I suppose, but I would rather not have a label thrust upon me. I don’t like to label myself. Do you?
e.e: I'm not so cautious in terms of labels, though I worry when someone obsesses over how to categorize me they can often move their attention away from that which is important, the work.
H.Y: Exactly, we are so used to labeling people around us these days, putting them into boxes. When human’s cannot label a person, for instance when someone is androgynous they get angry and upset and make fun of this person.
- e.e: Are there any designers/labels you frequently visit when sourcing garments for a shoot?
H.Y: Well it came to my attention that since my very first production I am using Maison Martin Margiela rather often. Fashion should be like this in one way, a dash of continuity isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
e.e: You have a healthy balance of both sexes in your work. Do you have an affinity to one or the other in terms of demonstrating particular ease whilst styling the male or female form?
H.Y: I have fun styling both sexes but the woman is in a way much more attractive. A woman’s body talks to me in a way the male physique does not and I find I can fulfill the needs of this body shape with the best results.
elysium.e: a place or state of perfect bliss. When are you at your happiest?
H.Y: When I’m travelling.
Habib Yahyaoui's Online Portfolio