In December last year it was revealed that former Céline design director Yuni Ahn would be leaving the label to take on Paris-meets-Tokyo label Maison Kitsuné. The South Korean designer has previously been working for big names like Chloé, Miu Miu and Paul Smith, and is now leading both design of menswear and womenswear across all Maison Kitsuné lines.
Yuni Ahn showcased her first collection for the brand at Paris Fashion Week Men’s last week, redefining the brands aesthetic by showcasing a new line of tailored coats, advanced silhouettes, quality and impeccable detail. Leading up to the designer’s debut, we had the chance to catch up with Ahn to hear more about her approach to the collection, as well as the transition from Céline to Maison Kitsuné, and the decision to present the FW19 range in collaboration with Boiler Room.
Keep reading on below to see our interview with the Yuni Ahn and Maison Kitsuné founder Gildas Loaëc, as they tell all about the “new Kitsuné.”
With your knowledge of Kitsuné before, what do you feel you could add to it? What will you do to take it further?
Yuni Ahn: To take it further, we are offering stronger silhouette and a lot of options for the customers that are more ”fashion-educated,” as well as the great customers that have been around since the beginning
Gildas Loaëc : I think you need a really precise eyes in terms of the fabric itself. The fit, the silhouette and all those things in terms of the demographics. I think is very much precise, and I guess we are talking about slightly more grown-up, fashion-educated customers now. We’ve maintained the streetwear cuts, but we’ve added more tailoring on the trousers and on the coats. This will be our new style which we are very enthusiastic about, and it is good fun.
Because there’s always been a slightly collegiate style to Kitsuné, would you say this collection feels a bit more graduated? Would that be the accurate way to describe it?
GL: You could certainly describe it as ‘graduated’ because the outcome is definitely sharper and more precise.
YA: We’ve also played with a genderless vibe that works with different situations.
Was there a starting piece? Was there one idea which really inspired you throughout the whole process?
YA: It wasn’t one idea; it was a full study of everything. So I can’t say that there was one piece that was my starting piece.
For how long had you been hoping to work up to this point? Did you just wake up in the morning and say that ‘ok, we are ready’?
GL: I didn’t see her everyday but we are very lucky to have the chance to meet her. She has an incredible talent and knowledge about clothes and the way to make them. We are very lucky to work with her to produce this collection.
How many ‘Celine’ elements are in the collection?
YA: It is very close to the Celine womenswear because I was involved in two periods of Céline. First one when Phoebe took over about 10 years ago, working on inventing the language, and once again in 2017 as the Design Director. There were a lot of core, signature pieces and I completely devoted myself to creating them, so I can’t help being influenced by the label. So in a way it is there, but obviously Kitsuné is a totally different brand and I love the history of its music as well as the playful vibe.
Speaking of the music, how did the Boiler Room collaboration come around?
GL: Just I was saying before, we got these club kids inside all of us, for Yuni, Masaya and I. And Boiler Room gives us a way to be still clubbing at home. It is a very interesting concept which could be weird but still fun. With things I haven’t done before like fashion, I thought it would be really good fun to be part of it. The chance to be broadcasted live and the Kitsune community having a chance to follow us, even when people are at home, they can still have fun. We live in an era with the internet and Boiler Room is a practical media to get the world out. With DJ’s joining us and doing a special, dedicated house music set, it is adding another layer of fun to the actual big event.
We have a wonderful music heritage and to embrace it, we can connect with more people. Music is such a strong influence in all of our lives. We have this and why not share it? We are having fun as well. So that is another reason.