Welcome back to Style Dossier, Gabrielle Royal’s column that profiles stylish queers across the country. This edition, Gabrielle is featuring Yseult Polfliet, Burundi born, Brussels raised model and Marketing/PR specialist. Yseult recently walked in dapperQ’s third annual New York Fashion Week show at Brooklyn Museum and shot a campaign for Thomas Thomas London. She is also head of communications at the NY-based production company and creative studio Sequoia Films.
Gabrielle: Who is your biggest fashion icon and why?
Yseult: My biggest fashion icon is my mother. She inspired me through her effortlessly fierce and bold nature. She was always on point with every trend, which is how I discovered various garments while also learning how to be confident and love myself. To me, she looked as cool as the supermodels and taught me that it wasn’t because I didn’t see myself represented in high fashion that I couldn’t be high fashion.
Gabrielle: How much of your personal style is influenced by your identity?
Yseult: To me, style is a direct reflection of identity. I express myself as best as I can through how I style myself, and try my best not to be affected or influenced by societal norms and limitations. Fashion to me is about feeling comfortable with myself. I believe that if I am comfortable in the clothes and in my body, then it gives off positive vibes and in turn attracts positive energy. So, being comfortable within leads to a positive, rewarding life true to me.
Gabrielle: Why is queer visibility important and how does fashion help create space for members of our community? What challenges do you face in your profession, if any, as an LGBTQ person?
Yseult: Queer visibility is important because everyone should be able to find themselves in this world, in whatever platform that exists. When I was a child, I barely saw any Black models and now we are starting to see more representation. I think this goes hand in hand with the queer community. It’s important because it’s gonna give a change to future generations not to struggle so long to find themselves, and realize they are not alone and can exists as they are. This is why I was so happy to be a part of the dapperQ iD fashion event. It gave a platform and an opportunity for non binary conforming brands to have a platform, flourish and in turn empower people who may have not seen themselves be represented elsewhere.
As a black, queer woman I realize that there a lot against me but I also acknowledge my privilege because I have had an incredibly supportive and loving family throughout the process of accepting myself and I also work in an industry that is relatively accepting of gays and lesbians.
Gabrielle: Tell us about your biggest fashion and/or shopping fail!
Yseult: I was in my teens. I had been shopping all day and my mom got me these cool trendy pants that I was so excited to put on the next day. Finally, we get to a restaurant and my mom asks me “where are the bags?” That’s when I realized I didn’t have the bags and thought, “Why would you trust me?” All I could think about was the new stuff I had bought that I was gonna wear the next day …not. When we got to the store, they denied there were ever any bags left behind. Ever since, I have never lost a bag again and have a serious obsession with checking everything on me before I leave a place.
Gabrielle: What advice would you give our readership? What advice can you offer to people who fit outside of society’s understanding of traditionally masculine and feminine styles?
Yseult: When it comes to people not “fitting in,” the first thing would be to try and be as positive inside as possible and keep a good heart. Don’t let things outside affect you inside too much. This doesn’t mean that the hardships you may be experiencing are not real, but just that it’s best to focus on working on yourself and protecting your energy because what you give out to the world eventually comes back. Your good nature will attract other good, supportive people. I always try to remember that those who are non accepting and mean are suffering from their own issues and use you as an emotional punching bag. I try to have as much compassion as I can because it frees me from bitterness and anger.
With regards to clothing, if you can’t find anything out there that is exactly what you want, you have to go make it yourself. Claim your space in the world because you deserve it.
Gabrielle: Tell us something unique about you!
Yseult: I have a 6th finger on my left hand. Just kidding! This isn’t unique, but I pride myself on having a 6th finger. Just kidding for real. I pride myself on being as authentic and as real as I can be. I always try to be a nice and diplomatic person. I don’t want to step on people even if it may get me ahead. I really behave in a way that I’d like others to behave towards me. It’s hard to be a good person all the time, but it’s good to always try.
Gabrielle: How did you hear about dapperQ? Why were you interested in a feature?
Yseult: First, I discovered dapperQ through Instragram and I thought it was so cool. I hadn’t seen anything quite like it, it was really refreshing. I then participated in the fashion show and it was almost like an otherworldly experience.
The fashion industry is not so inclusive, and when I discovered this event I realized, “Wow this is real and this is important.” I definitely want to keep being in this environment because it does something special. It makes some comfortable because it’s not what they are used to, challenges them because they have to start understanding the status quo is not an absolute true reality, and it also comforts a lot of people because it unravels something new. It lets them know they belong somewhere and have a space, which happens to be in a high end fashion space and that’s really hot.
Suit: Thomas Thomas collection. Grey Flannel Suit, Eaton Collar Shirt Pique Waist Coat, Wool Flannel Fishtail Pants and Novesta sneakers.
The trousers are inspired by 1920’s “meanswear” with the characteristic fishtail back, waistband adjusters and slightly longer fly. The Wool Flannel Blazer has the detailing and feeling of a vintage “menswear” piece with peak labels.
Casual look: Vintage Italian silk bomber, oversized “men’s” white cotton T, forever21 black jeans and Zara leather booties.
Follow Yseult: Instagram @yseultnyc
Thomas Thomas shoot: Charlotte Sclapari (IG/Twitter @sequoiafilms @charlottesmbc)
Street-style Shoot: Diego Ledezma (IG: @d_ledezmaphoto)