Sean Yseult is best known as the colorful, long-haired bassist in White Zombie. Once the band split in ‘96, she moved to New Orleans and eventually started making super-poppy graphic silk scarves that now sell at Henri Bendel. A far cry from the nineties alternascene. We sat down with Yseult to find out how exactly she made the move from Zombie to Fifth Avenue and what else she’s got up her sleeve.
When did you start making these scarves?
I started in 2006, shortly after Katrina hit. I was living in New Orleans, and that hurricane was one of those moments in people’s lives in New Orleans where it’s life-affirming and a wake-up call to get back to what I was meant to be doing. We all got thrown out of our homes, and I moved up here for three months. I started drawing these graphics, and I thought they’d look good on silk.
You graphics are really poppy and happy, not what we’d expect from the White Zombie girl.
I know, where are the skulls and guns? It’s so weird, I know! I wish I could give people what they expect.
What did you study at Parsons?
Graphic design. I’ve been releasing this dirty little secret that White Zombie was actually an art-school band. We all met at Parsons! The original lineup.
What’s next for you?
I’m branching out. I make these little enamel cases, these billfolds and card cases. I’d like to see my patterns on trays, platters, things like that. I’d like to do an evening bag. Little clutches.
Where do you like to shop?
In New Orleans, there’s this amazing clothing store in the French Quarter — it’s really small — called UAL. United Apparel Liquidators. And there’s always Prada in there, Stella McCartney. It’s like the crazy outlet of designers in this tiny little room. I stop into Saks sometimes too. Here in New York, I like to stop in this thrift store on East 7th Street, but I don’t know the name of it! It’s not Tokio7, but I love that store too. I got a great black silk Dolce & Gabbana shirt at Amarcord.
What’s the first designer item you bought?
My guitarist from White Zombie got married in Chicago, and I got offered to stand on the bride’s side or the groom’s. I was like, “I want to stand on the groom’s.” So I went to Saks and got a nice Theory suit. That was my first one. And now I’m hooked on Theory suits.
Who are your favorite designers?
Alexander McQueen is always doing fabulous things. I’m still a Levi’s and jeans punk at heart, but I love seeing things. My friend Cid Scantlebury is doing lovely, lovely jewelry. I love her Better Living Through Chemistry line. Everyone needs that! My friend Candace Gwinn does a line in New Orleans called Trashy Diva, and it’s just total like twenties, thirties fabulousness, evening gowns, everything. Gorgeous. I just like to ogle everything.
What trends do you hate?
I have a real problem with American Apparel. I don’t know how like T-shirts and spandex leggings became a look. I’m old enough to have seen that era the first time around. And I didn’t like it the first time.
What are you coveting?
I’ve been seeing shiny purple leather. I think I’m destined for a purple leather jacket. A bag or coat.