Interview with designer Yoana Baraschi at her NYC showroom. I conducted the interview and wrote the post.
AN INTERVIEW WITH YOANA BARASCHI
She’s the eponymous founder of a brand known for its one-of-a-kind lace and embroidery, so it’s not surprising that when you step into Yoana Baraschi’s studio, you enter a dream world of vintage lace. We dropped by recently and chatted about everything from where she sees fashion going to what’s cooking in her kitchen.
image via Celeste Sloman
How her background plays into her designs
“It’s kind of a secret, but my grandmother was a very talented artist. Women were not allowed to have professions at the beginning of the 20th century, but she became an amazing embroidery maker. Just after she married at 19, she had an exhibition of embroidery; she would do everything by hand, from sets of tablecloths to the smallest handkerchief. That’s why I connect so much with embroidery.”
The best cities for inspiration
“I love going to Paris. There’s a deep, cultural sense of refinement that settles and aligns things for me. I want to feed into that current, because I come from a European (Romanian) background. Of course, I live here and I’m American—I’m in love with how dynamic this place is—but I think connecting to cultural roots, to artisan traditions, to things made by hand is very important.
When in London, another favorite city of mine, I visit the parks and Victorian cemeteries. Things that give you that romantic feeling, you know? I just need to feel it. My pieces are based on what touches me emotionally. I couldn’t go to a trend report online and get inspired by that; it has to come from my own subjective emotions.”
A hidden NYC gem
“I have a big love story with the sunsets on the West Side; when I first came to New York, I lived in the East Village and would bike to the West Side just for the sunset. If you go on the piers between Christopher Street and 23rd Street—anywhere on the piers—you’ll see one of the most glorious sunsets in the world. In the fall, the clouds get super pink, and every moment is a delight.”
What a typical day looks like
“It starts with watering my roof deck garden. That’s how I wake up. I just walk out of my bedroom, and water the garden. By the time I’m done with that, I’m kind of awake. [Laughs] So I get ready, have coffee, and come to the office.
It’s really important that I take an after-lunch break, to go home and mediate. I’ve been meditating for 25 years! I’m lucky that I live very close by, in Chelsea. When I come back to the office, all my work-related problems are much lighter. Some days I’ll go to my yoga class—I’m a certified Pilates instructor, so I love doing Pilates too. I stay here until 7 p.m. or whatever is needed to finish the day with the team. In the evening, I love to cook. Or my husband and I go out for dinner in the neighborhood.”
What’s cooking in her kitchen
“I love to give people jam, so I make that all the time. This summer, I’ve been making baba ganoush, and Middle Eastern things—my grandmother was Greek, so I learned from her. Lots of vegetables, too. Vegetables are stars! I grow them at my country house in the Western Catskills.”
Favorite NYC restaurants
“Bottino, which is right by my house. They have a wonderful garden. It’s a low-key, very civilized place. All the waiters are artists, and they’re really like family—it’s an extension of my living room now. Also, Cookshop in Chelsea, because there’s a lovely terrace on the street; it’s a little bit like being in Paris!”
The best beauty products
“Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Éclat! You have to be very careful with the color; do not get #2—it’s very yellow. I have #1.5, and it always runs out of stock. I love it under the eyes.
You know who has an exceptional and very-fun-to-look-at line of makeup is Paul & Joe. The lipsticks are amazing. They have very good colors and the packaging is very fun and innocent. Also, vitamin C serums; they’re amazing to put on the face and give you a glow. Mine is by Origa, a Belgian pharmacy maker. It’s called FLAVO-C forte and gives your skin a “Oh, I’m just so happy today and rested” look. [Laughs]”
Where she sees fashion going
“I’m inspired by the softer, less aggressive direction fashion is going. I’m kind of astounded by how popular ruffles have become because it tells you there’s a need for softness, right? In French they call it the flou, which means fluidity. A return to a certain kind of softness.”
Mantra to live by
“Don’t hurt anybody’s feelings. It’s a hard one to live by, but it’s something I like to pursue.”