FINESSE HONEYS | JULIANNA YAO

FINESSE HONEYS | JULIANNA YAO

by Finesse Finesse

Julianna Yao | FINESSE HONEYS

Julianna Yao is an innovative stylist and creative director who has seamlessly transitioned from the world of art to high fashion. Initially aspiring to be a vocalist, her career took a turn at 16 when she was discovered by her mentor, leading to opportunities in modeling and creative direction.

From interning at Vogue to working on numerous high-profile projects with brands like Dior and Nike, her path in the fashion world has been marked by relentless creativity and dedication. Known for her ability to adapt her style to suit a diverse range of clients and industries, she views fashion as a canvas to express social, cultural, and lifestyle narratives.

Now, she aims to globalise her brand, WEIRDWORLDORDER, and expand her creative projects internationally.

Julianna Yao | FINESSE HONEYS
Can you share a bit about your journey into the fashion world? What initially inspired you to pursue a career as a stylist and creative director?

I was a street art kid growing up in north west Sydney, since a jit I was always intuitively creating art whether it was in the form of music, writing or fine art. I thought I was set to have my career as a vocalist/songwriter in my shoegaze band I was a part of before 16 and it all took a turn when I was discovered as a model & started working with my mentor Demian Renucci at 16 as a stylist and creative director. He was the ex-head of design at DRUGS (they were dressing JAYZ, The Weekend and Future in early 2010s.) I remember every day after school (sometimes I just didn't go to school) I would go to the studio and shoot - the models we would cast were super duper body positive and often covered with tattoos... it was during the early era of the hypebeast/goth on Instagram so the way we were consistent with our digital marketing quickly brought upon a lot of opportunities, I was discovered by many other brands internationally and locally. I started interning at Vogue/GQ, assisted a lot, constantly just executing my vision and doing... yeah it all kind of just happened naturally. Julianna Yao | FINESSE HONEYS

You've worked with some iconic brands like Dior, Nike, and NBA. Can you tell us about one of your most memorable moments?
Thank you so much. I would say in reality, the memorable moments are never the glamorous ones.. The most out-of-pocket one was this time when I risked getting arrested in Brisbane for a Vogue editorial during lockdown. I got flown out and was handed the wrong working pass so the police pulled up at the airport and escorted me to the border of NSW/QLD, with my two XL suitcases I was dedicated to finishing the shoot so I legged it, ran across the border soon as the police took off, caught up with the team and went incognito for the following days when I was in Brisbane. Turned out it was the most amazing shoot ever thanks to our talent Hannah Bronte's choice of location, we saw the most exotic plantations driving down this beautiful rainforest, and I drove a van for the first time while our HMUA prepped Hannah in the backseat (due to the delay we were running out of light IYKYK), witnessed these colourful wild butterflies (they were the same size as my palms) and breathtaking sunset.
Julianna Yao | FINESSE HONEYS
Working with such diverse brands, from high fashion to sportswear, must require a versatile approach. How do you adapt your style to suit different clients and industries?
I see fashion as a huge canvas to display one's projection of reality, sometimes reflecting their social/cultural/lifestyle surroundings, hence having a thorough understanding of my client's subjective is key to nailing the job whether we are slaying a red carpet, building an editorial or shooting a commercial/advertorial.
Coming from a streetwear background, the foundation is laid with the RTW sportswear/streetwear market whereas high fashion is more of a materialised extension of this couture moment, so plenty of extensive research on the runways, lookbooks, campaigns and read-ups on the creative director's design ethos, the history of these houses and even their lifestyle will help. Once you clock that the rest will flow.
Julianna Yao | FINESSE HONEYS
Have you ever felt that being a woman has given you a unique perspective or advantage in your work?
Absolutely. I think working in the industry, which is often male-dominated, can be challenging for women. On one hand, women may sometimes receive more opportunities based on their looks, but on the other hand, they may not be taken as seriously because of their looks. At the end of the day, it's crucial to maintain business integrity and deliver your best work.
Julianna Yao | FINESSE HONEYS
How do you envision the future of your work evolving in the next few years, and what type of projects do you want to focus on most?
I am focusing on globalising my brand, WEIRDWORLDORDER. We debuted during this year's Australian Fashion Week, and I plan to place our products in store/online across APAC and America. Preparing and designing our next season have been challenging and fun. On the creative direction side, I plan to travel and work on more editorials in the coming years, potentially going in-house at a magazine.
Julianna Yao | FINESSE HONEYS
Rapid fire:
Who is your style icon? 

Michelle Lamy

What’s the one piece of clothing or accessory you can’t live without? 
The "GHETTO COUTURE" tote from WEIRDWORLDORDER.
What's on trend that we should know about?

Latex utility wear

Describe your style in three words. 

Sophisticated, Playful, Couture.

Julianna Yao | FINESSE HONEYS
Creative Director & Photography: @ouibutterup
Julianna wears the Nike Shox R4 "Light Purple" from Finesse