Mastery of materials and design: Yves Mervin-Leroy

M. C. Escher made an appearance at the Fashion Design Graduating Student Exhibition, courtesy of graduating senior Yves Mervin-Leroy. Leather pieces from Yves’ collection showed the interlocking design patterns strongly evocative of Escher’s work. But it was his mastery of complex leather and textile technology that dazzled the online audience.

Yves Mervin-Leroy senior thesis collection

Yves presented his collection to his senior thesis Incubator class with Professor Gerard Dellova, who lauded his work for its design concepts, and its use of innovative technology and wearable, commercial appeal. In attendance was the Dean of the School of Art and Design and industry professionals. 

Yves first look was an oversized bomber jacket and micro miniskirt in embossed ivory lamb leather paired with a silk chiffon and charmeuse top.

Yves Mervin-Leroy senior thesis collection

The jacket features ribbed cuffs, hem, and collar, and a covered zipper. There are slot seams for added mobility. They conceal hidden, practical inseam pockets with clean vertical lines. There are also two oversized inner pockets.

“The pockets are big enough for the biggest iPhone you can think of,” said Yves. “Hey, that’s important!”

From left, right, bottom: leather soaked in acrylic; silk velvet being embossed with acrylic; some of the ABS plastic pieces coming off the 3D printer.

Here’s where it gets super techie:

“The jacket is embossed with a custom geometric interlocking ‘Y’ pattern,” Yves explains. “The leather is soaked in acrylic and stretched over custom 3D printed forms with a clamping system. The backs of the motifs are individually filled with a UV-activated curing resin for added strength.”

The same pattern is reinterpreted in the charmeuse intarsia that lightly drapes across the chest, suspended in nude chiffon.

“Yves, this is a great use of technology, wonderfully designed — wearable and innovative!” said Dean Troy Richards.

Yves Mervin-Leroy senior thesis collection

The Etscher-like motif neither overwhelms nor is trite:  

“I can see a relationship to Escher but the figure-ground relationship of the monochromatic pattern has its own life,” says Fine Arts Professor Sue Willis.

Yves said he was drawn to Escher’s optical illusions. “They rely on linear perspective to create impossible structures. I also drew inspiration from his tessellations, especially for the interlocking pattern the leather is embossed with.”

Yves says the geometry throughout the patterns and textiles he developed are a nod to Escher’s work:

“My goal was to create something that wasn’t an immediately recognizable reference. I wanted to avoid the collection being too trendy.”

Yves Mervin-Leroy senior thesis collection

The second look is an embossed bias-cut dress in velvet, lined with charmeuse.

“Light catches the pattern differently depending on the angle,” says Yves. “The straps are threaded through jump rings and are detachable and reconfigurable, making it a very adjustable garment. The pattern evokes the leather embossing.”

Yves Mervin-Leroy senior thesis collection
Yves Mervin-Leroy senior thesis collection

Yves embossed velvet for his third look, as well, but with a more metallic material. “It shows a different effect. It has drawstring hems and charmeuse bound seams,” he says.

Yves Mervin-Leroy senior thesis collection

“Yves, this is a great use of technology, wonderfully designed — wearable and innovative!” – Troy Richards, Dean of the School of Art and Design.  

The crossbody bag, an extra to the assignment, was made with retro-reflective glass powder and acrylic stenciled on iridescent leather. It has an adjustable and detachable strap.

Yves Mervin-Leroy senior thesis collection

“The embossed leather is beautiful. The implementation of the repetitive pattern and garment construction I find to be fascinating” says Prof. Willis who co-developed the Wearable Art course with Jewelry Design Prof. Karen Bachmann.

Yves Mervin-Leroy senior thesis collection

“Yves brings a maker mentality to his brand’s DNA, with a subtle vision,” says Prof. Dellova. “He’s a hands-on creative who uses innovative techniques for modern fashion design.”

And his work has flow. All the pieces in Yves’ collection are designed to be combined in numerous ways.

Yves Mervin-Leroy

To see more of Yves Mervin-Leroy work, visit his website: Yves-Valentin, and follow him on Instagram: yvesmervin.

To learn about the Fashion Design program go to: Fashion Design at FIT.

All photos used with permission.

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