The princess of plexiglass, Yaz Bukey is no Jane Birkin wannabe. Inspired by John Waters camp and Cicciolina raunch, Yaz prefers snake earrings and framboise YSL shorts to the woefully imitated t-shirt and skinny jeans. "I'd wear so much makeup that my mom would say, 'You're going to kill me,'" says the King Farouk descendent. With a Turkish ambassador for a father, Yaz spent her childhood in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Algiers. The communities were gated and you rarely left your house, "It was a parallel life," reflects Yaz. Once she left Saudi Arabia, Yaz started to dress up as Boy George, and to this day she continues to explore contrasting identities through dress up: "I don't want to only have one life. One morning, I'll wake up, do my hair, and think, 'This looks like Lauren Bacall; I'll take my fake cigarette and walk around. But another day I'll do my lipstick and think, 'This looks like Marilyn Monroe lips; I'll dress more open and be the fake, stupid girl she'd sometimes play in her movies."
"For my dad, big boobs weren't chic. It meant that you had less brains. In the diplomatic world," Yaz explains, "you don't show your failures, everything has to be perfect." To Yaz's parents, music school was for prostitutes, but the last generation princess had her own fantasies and acted on them. Ditching "the acceptable" architecture school, Yaz cried her way into Studio Marisol, the famous French school, where the first thing she learned was that what your parents taught you was shit and that art is about creating yourself and becoming the person you'd like to be." Soon, Yaz was walking around her school in panties, transitioning from dark to colorful and developing her own interpretation of "pop."
Post-school, Yaz worked in fashion with McQueen, Margiela, and Givenchy before she began making her own jewelry, including beaded belts and necklaces that were gobbled up by Bjork. An abhorrer of the middle, Yaz loves dreaming. "It's the best moment of my day," she declares, adding, "Lately, I've been flying in my dreams." As for "accessories," Yaz loathes that term due to the inferiority that it implies. In actuality, it's the accessory that endows the simple black dress with power. For proof, look no further than what they do to the Alaia dress that Yaz got for her 40th birthday. Feeling amazing as she enters her fourth decade, Yaz says aging feeds her to grow her brand and to accept the enormous ups and down and to reject the pressure to be happy 24/7. Though the press has dubbed her the "granddaughter of Schiaparelli," Yaz's finger necklaces and embroidered bags inhabit a surrealist world all her own. Receiving no financial support from her family, Yaz's path to princessdom has been full of hardships that she's embraced. As Yaz notes, "When you find yourself in a struggling moment, something new arrives."
Elisa & Lily
Shot, photographed, and interviewed by Elisa, Lily, & Andrea Cruz
Edited by Andrea Cruz