Behind the Designs: A Chat with Yoana Baraschi

Perhaps it’s the aesthetic of her designs – bold colors and alluring shapes – or her name, rich with an intercontinental air, but we’re endlessly intrigued by (okay, and obsessed with) this of-the-moment designer. We went to Ms. Baraschi for a first-hand take on her influences, what inspires her, and where to go in Manhattan for a truly great meal.

Tell us a little about your upbringing/background. How does it influence your designs?
My father was a sculptor who had a great love and understanding of the female form. My mother herself was a celebrated beauty who expressed her creativity through what she wore. Growing up in a house of artists, I learned how important it is to define a signature sense of style, and also how to work toward making women beautiful.

Your resume is beyond impressive (to say the very least). Of all the roles you’ve held, which had the strongest impact on you?
Working in Paris definitely impacted my aesthetic; there, I learned the meaning of effortless chic. And working at Betsey Johnson, I saw that it’s possible to be a free spirit and start your own business (if you’re willing to work at least 12 hours a day, that is).

When did you first realize that you’d truly made it as a fashion designer?
While I don’t let myself think I’ve truly made it because I want to keep evolving and reinventing my aesthetic, it felt great when I was told for the first time that women feel beautiful and receive compliments when wearing my designs. Hearing this makes me happy; it’s like food for my soul.

Where/what do you look to for inspiration in designing new lines?
Travel, new places, people from different cultures, and things that touch me emotionally, like historical ornaments and different cultures’ arts and crafts. Oh, and Paris – always!

Favorite fashion mag?
French Elle.

Favorite restaurant of all time?
Bottino. So close to my home in Chelsea, it feels like an extension of my living room.

If you could jet off anywhere at this very moment, where would you go?
I can’t go anywhere just yet; our spring 2013 collection has to be ready in a couple of weeks! But once it’s complete, I will go to Paris.

See Ms. Baraschi’s ever-evolving designs for yourself; our Yoana Baraschi Boutique opens today, August 15, 2012, at 11AM ET.

By Sarah Stanley, Staff Writer

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August 15, 2012