Yiqing Yin (Photo: Vacheron Constantin)

You’re the face of Vacheron Constantin’s Égérie collection. How did this partnership come about?

The brand reached out to me to see if there was any kind of link that could be made between haute horlogerie and haute couture. I found this idea quite daring because horlogerie is something that’s very masculine. I was invited to its manufacture in Geneva, where I was presented with every aspect of the métier—the creativity, the technology, the research, the innovation—and all the people involved every step of the way. I was quite blown away. I felt really close to the discipline and all the work required to make such pieces of beauty. The manufacture functions like a laboratory of experimentation, which is also the way I work, and we found ourselves with these common values. 

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White gold and diamond Égérie Moon Phase jewellery watch. (Photo: Vacheron Constantin)

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Watchmaking and fashion are often perceived as polar opposites, where one is all about technicalities and the other, fantasy.

That’s absolutely true. I wasn’t mad about watches before. For me, they were symbols of masculine power and a social statement—my father and  uncles used to wear very expensive ones when I was a little girl. But I think that the Vacheron Constantin Égérie collection, with all its finesse and sensuality, really brings out a conscious and delicate femininity. The dial resembles the plissé that I make with my fabric, but it’s much easier to work the fabric because it’s soft. For the dial, the artisans have to do it with extreme precision, in miniature, on metal. 

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Pink gold and diamond Égérie Self-winding watch. (Photo: Vacheron Constantin)

Having had an up-close experience of watchmaking, what has impressed you the most?

I love that everything inside a watch is useful and has a function. I think this is something that could be applied more often in fashion, where it’s quite easy to slip into a decorative mode. It’s the amount of artistic technology, all the métiers and disciplines, that is required to make it work. Everything needs to find its place and negotiate in order to fit together to make something that is really the quest of perfection—that really reminds me of couture, but on an even more precise level. To make a watch work, there are hundreds of parts inside that you don’t see. Like a very well-finished garment with impeccable seams, the truth is never visible to the naked eye and I love that secrecy.