February 19, 2012 London
He started small. The first look out was a typically austere ensemble of a crisp white shirt and pants with mere glints of rich brocade in the collar and in a pair of lace-up booties. You imagine that the power woman who loves Yousefzada's talent for making precise, Philo-esque smart clothing might allow herself such a flourish, or perhaps the flash from the lining of a properly minimal crepe and leather pop-over dress. But credit the designer for keeping lines sharp even when he let fly from head to toe in the more baroque fare, such as a portrait-collar jacket or cape with chic little matching cropped pants.
Backstage, Yousefzada cited as inspiration the photographic collection of philanthropist Albert Kahn, who sent bands of photographers all around the globe between 1909 and 1931 to create a visual record of the world. But in a way, this brocade-centric collection mirrors Yousefzada's own story as a British-born son of Afghan immigrants, both traversing the same Silk Road. He pared everything away at the beginning of his career to give himself a fresh slate and avoid the ethnic pigeonhole. But this squaring of his East–West exchange is a welcome evolution.