updated 8 Jul 2013, 20:28
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Thu, Jul 04, 2013
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'Amelie' star's dress is boon for young designer
by Helen Rowe

PARIS - "Amelie" star Audrey Tautou's choice of Yiqing Yin for the Cannes film festival generated more interest in one night than the Chinese-born French designer has enjoyed in her whole career.

The fluttery, micro-pleated "Absinthe" dress in mint organza and silk chiffon worn by Tautou was praised as a "work of art" by fashion website Red Carpet Fashion Awards.

For a designer only a few years out of college, the attention has been almost overwhelming.

"We've never had as much press coverage after any show," Yin told AFP at her atelier in Paris as she prepared for her latest couture show held on Wednesday.

"It's made us known to the public at large and brought interest from new buyers in both couture and ready-to-wear," she said.

With her experimental style, Yin was not a natural choice for such a high-profile event.

If Tautou's decision to showcase the designer in her role as mistress of ceremonies at Cannes was unexpected, it was no less the welcome for it.

A number of important industry figures have requested invitations for the show and the label is attracting media interest in China too.

Born in Beijng in 1985, Yin left China at the age of four and she has said that clothes gave her "points of reference" as she moved from country to country.

She grew up in a family of antique dealers "surrounded by beautiful, old things", and later studied at Paris's National School of Decorative Arts.

Her first collection "Exile" was shown at the 2010 fashion festival at Hyeres in the south of France and also put on display at the French Ministry of Culture.

Often characterised as "dreamlike", her latest collection contains "a lot of Calais lace cut up, made up again, almost pulled to pieces".

Yin says she chose marine animals as the theme because they prompted a sense of disgust in her which she "found interesting" to transform into "something beautiful and pure".

With the label starting to sell couture dresses to Chinese and American customers, she acknowledges that they are not for everyone.

"To wear my creations you need to be thin and not to have any fear of being exposed," she said.

Since January 2012, her fashion house has taken part in the couture shows in Paris as a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

Only members of the organisation are allowed to use the name "haute couture" to describe their work and each house must adhere to strict requirements governing practices such as the number of garments produced and the amount of work carried out by hand.

The impact of the Tautou dress means Yin will soon be requiring more staff to cope with the label's new found fame.

"It's two-and-a-half years since we started and we've sold dozens of couture dresses," she said.

"(Now) we are at a decisive moment: we have demand but we will have to be able to respond."

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