BY.Bonnie Young’s Glamorous Informality

All Photos by Luca Babini

The word modern is bantered around indiscriminately in fashion, but it justly applies to Bonnie Young’s ultra-luxurious designs with casual ease; feminine and alluring yet strong and powerful (Bonnie always says powerful women inspire her). One will never look like they are TTH (trying too hard) with Young’s clothes. In other words, they are perfect for now.

“BY. Bonnie Young is timeless, artful, modern, and infused with glamour. I am inspired by women unafraid to express themselves or make a statement in all areas of their lives.”

Bonnie Young

Like all of Young’s collections, it is streamlined, concise, and tightly edited. Each piece has a reason for being and always focuses on sustainability. Bonnie has committed to using only fabrics and textiles in her collections destined for landfill, proving that upcycled fabrics can be just as fresh and inspiring as the original rolls — without taking a toll.

Bonnie admits to being “obsessed” with both pleating and harnesses and they serve as the starting point for Collection 2023. Everything about this well-thought-out collection, which plays out in ivory, tan, black, dark navy, and blue denim, sums up the idea of modern couture down to the choice of model.

Chen Xi, @chancymodel, has a commanding, androgynous look, wonderful height (5’11.5”), lithe frame, and closely cropped hair that align beautifully with Young’s edgy, sophisticated aesthetic.

The only accessories used are sunglasses, high heeled black leather boots, flat slides, and white sneakers. The overall look is minimal but a few pieces are decorated, and they are gorgeous.

A lace-up bustier of luxurious heavyweight linen denim is embellished with intricate beading and Swarovski crystal shooting stars wrapping around the bodice, adding to the magic and romance of the look.

An otherwise simple button-down shirt is made special thanks to a front ruffle and Swiss hand-cut clear sequins. Shown offhandedly with the men’s style wide-legged trousers in blue denim, it speaks volumes.

The collection emphasizes expert tailoring, construction, and exceptional fabrication. Bonnie uses modern mesh, couture wool, viscose sharkskin linen, stretch viscose, luxurious heavyweight velvet, a cashmere and silk blend, silk crepe de chine, silk georgette, and linen denim, from Japan, Italy, and France.

As they say, God is in the details. Young, who always highlights individuality and versatility, adds couture details like twill tape, gold metal rings, and boning and horsehair which allow for better shape. Belts and straps enable the customer to change the shape of the outfit.

For example, a pleated dress in tan couture mesh has garters and long straps for styling options. A tailored jacket with cut-out sleeves in black couture wool has a belt that can be worn open or with back hook closures to accentuate the waist.

While some unapologetically feminine designs exist, Bonnie sees the collection as nongender. To emphasize the point, Young’s oversized denim suit, which is also offered in sumptuous heavyweight ivory velvet, is shown on both Chen Xi and Bonnie’s son, Brando. Bonnie’s husband, Luca Babini, is a renowned fashion photographer, filmmaker, and activist who photographs all of Young’s collections.

It is a family affair. When their talented young daughter Celia Babini appeared as a finalist on The Voice in 2019, she dressed in her mom’s designs. Now a young woman of 21, Celia continues to inspire Bonnie.

The spring 2023 collection, priced from $795-$4800, is available on Instagram, @by.bonnieyoung, the By.Bonnie Young’s website, ttp://www.bonnieyoung.comand at a few select stores around the world. After Covid hit in March 2020, Young was inspired to do more custom designs working directly with her clients.

Young wants to do exclusive pieces for specialty stores worldwide (like Des Kohan in LA. A’maree’s in Newport Beach, and the exclusive Sixth Senses Resort in Ibiza, Spain), where she has forged strong personal relationships.

Bonnie is a CFDA member, former Creative Director for Donna Karan International, an author, and a dedicated philanthropist. But more than anything else, Young considers her primary role as a creative director.

Bonnie is now creating a new face oil. It is named O1L and is Young’s first foray into beauty. She says it’s “fabulous” and hopes it will launch to the public in June.

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Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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