NYFW Designer Tales: Rie Yamagata

Designer Rie Yamagata just showed her RHIÉ FW16 collection in a striking and futuristic presentation at Industria Superstudio. From specialising in knitwear in 2011, RHIÉ has expanded to a luxury womenswear brand catering to the modern and sophisticated woman. While Rie is a former Parsons School of Design graduate, having grown up on the west coast, her collection was far from the California vibe.


The contrast between the stark white room and the darkly clad models was accented with dramatic pops of colour displayed in some of the garments. The “Space Matters” collection encapsulated a space age and science-fiction influence with its modern silhouettes and daring use of colour. Eager to learn more, we asked Rie, herself, for a glimpse into RHIÉ.


What was the inspiration behind this collection and how is it different from your previous collection? Please explain the shift in materials and silhouettes. 

This season a few different things inspired me but I knew I wanted the collection to have a futuristic, space age feel. Maria Pergay, a furniture designer from the 60s and 70s, impacted the collection a lot – mainly the fluid lines and her use of stainless steel. In the spring, we had a few eyelet pieces that were light and airy. I wanted to bring this in to fall so I used some heavier materials that would still let the air flow, but feel heavier for colder temperatures. Regarding the silhouettes, I just always want to design for a woman who wants to be comfortable.

“I design for a woman who is on the go, but wants to look chic and feel like she can wear the piece with heels or sneakers.”


What was the thought process when designing your own print, and how did you decide on your colour palette?

I’d been inspired by the lines of the Milky Way and it made me wonder what it would look like super magnified. I imagined it would be some sort of particle wave and that is where the inspiration came from for the print.

What are your thoughts on Rebecca Minkoff showing her SS16 collection twice, and Burberry creating a “seasonless” collection? How do you think outside of the box as a designer yourself?

I understand this seasonless collection designers are moving towards now. But I think I’ll always want to design a great knit for fall and winter and a really fun dress in the summer. Although, consumers always want something new. Because they see the collection on social media and all of the websites 6 months before it hits stores, so you have to constantly be creating. Showing on consumer schedule I think has its pro’s, but it doesn’t mean it’s seasonless.


Which designers inspire you?

Personally I love Junya Watanabe.

A couple of designers are introducing wearable technology, what is your stance on this?

It’s innovative for sure. As designers and artists, we’re always looking towards what’s new and how we can push the craft further. This is one way. However, I’m not sure that we are going to be the brand people are looking towards to tell them how many calories they’ve burned that day.

How does the digital age and social media affect your designs or brand image?

It can create some really great excitement around a brand. And sometimes I think it’s almost like rediscovering something you love. For example, the images from my show today are already up on the Internet, Snapchat and Instagram. But in 6 months when someone is wearing it on the street – there’s going to be new excitement around that piece. I don’t think it hurts fashion brands as much as some other industries.

Want more? Read up on our interview with designer Jeremy Scott here

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