The Singapore-based designer talks fashion week and her inspirations.
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Yoyo Cao dressed in Gucci on her way to attend the brand’s SS2017 show (Courtesy: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

If you’ve flipped through any international magazine or street style Instagram account, you'll have definitely come across Singapore-based designer Yoyo Cao. We sit the style savant down for a quick chat on her brand and what makes her take on fashion so special.  

How long have you been working in the fashion industry? What were you doing before?
Yoyo Cao I'd say about six years. I was a student before I started my own label, Exhibit.  

Can you summarise what you do in one sentence?
YC I  do what I love. 

How did the Exhibit brand come to life?
YC I saw a gap in what people wanted and what the local market in Singapore offered and decided to import clothes from regional designers that close the gap. Several years down the road, an opportunity came for me to start designing my own pieces for a runway show (at Singapore Fashion Week) and we've been making our own collections ever since. 

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Fully suited for the Loewe SS17 show in Paris (Courtesy: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

What’s your favourite fashion week city?
YC Paris! I always love going back to Paris. 

How would you describe your personal style?
YC I see myself as a minimalist, but I do enjoy minimal pieces that come with a twist.

Who is your biggest style inspiration, and how has he/she inspired you?
YC My mom. She's someone who invests in classic pieces and she enjoys mixing pieces from this season and from a decade before, for example. There are no boundaries for her.

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Sports chic—a pair of sweats and Loewe sunglasses (Courtesy: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
YC A white shirt, a white t-shirt, vintage jeans, a well-tailored blazer.

Favourite designer at the moment?
YC Phoebe Philo is my all-time favourite.

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A self-proclaimed Phoebe-phile, Cao wears a pair of velvet Céline trousers to the brand’s show (Courtesy: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Have any particular looks from the autumn/winter 2017/2018 shows caught your eye so far?
YC The strong shoulder look.

What is your latest purchase from SS17?
YC The J'Adior sling back pumps from Dior. They’re almost sold out everywhere!

What was the one fashion-related moment in your career that was the most surreal for you?
YC An interview with in 2016.

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Her favorite accessories? Possibly hats—we’ve seen her in everything from visors and berets to boaters. (Courtesy: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

What is the most memorable shoot you’ve done and why?
YC That would be my first cover shoot for Elle Singapore. I wore a great look from Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe collection and I’ll always remember it.

How do you approach getting dressed for fashion week?
YC I like to create outfits around several key pieces that I've collected. Comfort for me is key, but as I mentioned before, I like looking out for minimal pieces that have an edge or something slightly unpredictable about them.

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She poses in a pair of Vetements jeans worn with a Gucci sweater (Courtesy: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

What can’t you live without during fashion week, and why?
YC My portable phone charger, what with all the Instagramming going on of course!

If you could raid a fashion person’s wardrobe, dead or alive or fictional, who would it be?
YC Taylor Tomasi-Hill, the Vice President of Creative and Fashion for Forty Five Ten.

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Great heights—Cao in the covetable Balenciaga boots from Demna’s debut for the house (Courtesy: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

What advice would you give to a budding fashion designer?
YC Focus and work hard. You have to understand that it is also more than designing, it is a business.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
YC Taking my brand, Exhibit, further in the region and then eventually to the international market.

What’s your career focus for 2017?
YC Growing creatively and also expanding my brand even further.

Keep up with Yoyo Cao on her Instagram @yoyokulala

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