Design director Igor Pacemski talks exclusively to Lingerie Insight editor Sarah Blackman about his plans to relaunch Yes Master as a swimwear label in the UK and abroad, alongside two new intimates brands.
Lingerie and swimwear designer Igor Pacemski has been busy, and that’s putting it mildly.
Behind the concrete walls of his Bulgarian factory, he’s been designing nightwear for Liberty London, creating private label ranges for fashion brands like Modcloth and taking on manufacturing contracts from high-end British designers – all while planning a major relaunch of his cult label Yes Master and starting up two new lingerie and swimwear brands.
“It’s quite hectic at the moment!” says Pacemski. “I’m going to Paris on July 5-7 to see MINT, the agency for Saks Fifth Avenue, to do sourcing, and then I leave for America from July 11 to the end of the month.
“Then I’m going on holiday to Croatia. I haven’t had a proper holiday since 1996. I’m actually not joking!”
But there’s no rest for the wicked; upon his return from Dubrovnik, the design director is set to announce the appointment of a new London agency, which will handle product sales in the UK while Pacemski and his team get set for international expansion.
“The idea is to have a dedicated London agency that takes care of sales in the UK because we aren’t there,” he says.
“We’ll also open an office in LA to give it that big international push,” he revealed.
To support the expansion, Yes Master will launch an extensive swimwear and resortwear collection for SS16.
The Festival collection explores the transformation of an urban professional into a modern day hippy, dropping inhibitions, breaking boundaries and achieving a complete sense of freedom.
Heavily referencing US festivals, Woodstock, Burning Man and Coachella, the intricate collection uses high-tech materials including tromp l’oeil-effect mesh, reversible black and cobalt neoprene and bonded Lycra.
One stand-out collection features the face of Jimi Hendrix woven onto a swimsuit and a kimono made of cotton/cashmere.
“The cashmere is actually blended for us,” says Pacemski. “It’s a mixture of cotton, cashmere and viscose to make it more summery. So we’re doing a lot more work on that sort of textile manipulation.”
Yes Master will also collaborate with the brainchild behind cult club Drugstore, Dragana Dobric, this season. The Yes Master X Drugstore collaboration features crochet beach accessories, including fringed baseball caps and the nearly-nude Orhidea suit.
Launched as an underwear brand in 2004, Yes Master has shifted its focus to swimwear in recent years, launching its first full swimwear collection in 2013.
“What I have decided to do is to make Yes Master pretty much a swimwear line because the aesthetic is totally suited to that sort of thing,” explains Pacemski.
“It’s really bold and I think that sort of style doesn’t translate that well into underwear. I don’t want to be trapped in that one dimensional, sexy brand-type category.”
Pacemski plans to return to Mode City, Paris in 2016 to showcase Yes Master in all its glory, alongside his new brands, Noblesse Oblige and Acoolah.
Noblesse Oblige is a high-end soft lingerie line aimed at feminine, elegant women who have a playful and coquettish side. The brand will be sold by Intimates Lingerie in the UK.
“This is essentially a really fabulous range of garments for the modern boudoir. It is not something that’s sex driven; it is something that is sexy,” explains Pacemski.
“I’m a little bit over that massively considered dressing up-type stuff that is on the market at the moment. I don’t think the British girl and the American girl are actually that contrived when it comes to sexiness – I think they’re more spontaneous – and I think this is exactly the sort of line that fits that. So I have really high hopes for this line. It’s all about the detail and there’s been no expense spared,” he enthuses.
The lingerie line features Sophie Hallette laces, bespoke elastics, knitted fabrics sourced from Willy Herman in Austria and hardware shipped from the same factory that manufactures Christian Dior.
“The idea is to turn this into a very easy holiday gift, and somehow it also works well with that whole notion of packing for a holiday. So it’s literally that little something that you can take on holiday with you and still look fabulous, without actually having to pack a lot of underwear that takes up a lot of space,” explains Pacemski.
Then there’s Acoolah, a contemporary women’s swimwear label made up of swimsuits and bikinis available up to a G cup.
Harking back to a bygone era of glamour, femininity and elegance, the collection gives a modern twist to retro fashion, visible in subtle references rather than pastiche looks.
Prints range from a demure shell design on a sea green base and a graphic flamingo feather, to nautical anchors and paisley designs in warm blues and coral.
Acoolah’s price point is much lower than Yes Master’s – with swimsuits retailing at £45 to £50.
“In saying that, the quality of the collection is still amazing,” says Pacemski. “We’re using Jersey Lomellina Lycras that are printed on site.”
“What we really wanted to do is create some fashion excitement in the swimwear market segment because it’s really stale at the moment,” he states.
“It’s all about the Curvy Kates and the Pour Mois and they have really nice products – they’re gorgeous – but I’m not trying to do that; I’m trying to offer something for people who are more fashion forward.
“We’ve made use of over 20 years of swimwear expertise from the team in Bulgaria to build the line.”
Commenting on returning to Mode City next year to exhibit his three brands, Pacemski says: “We didn’t feel, up until now, that trade shows offered enough value for us. But, the focus has recently been on international contracts that bring in a lot of cash. Having a brand is an expensive hobby, so it was all about getting back into the financial position in order to [exhibit at trade shows],” he says.
“Also, in terms of the Yes Master label, I think a big part of the relaunch is the fact that it is such an extensive collection. It was more a question of ‘are trade shows the right platform to sell Yes Master?’” Pacemski continues.
“In a way, [Yes Master] is too directional and sticks out like a sore thumb. But, in order to keep Yes Master that directional and that special, we launched the two other lines, which are more commercial and accessible. Then, as a three, it makes sense.”