In the fascinating world where music meets fashion, one name has been making waves with her unparalleled talent and unwavering spirit: Yseult Onguenet. Known by the mononym Yseult, the rising star first captured the world’s attention in 2019 with her viral track, “Corps,” a hit piano ballad that marked her breakthrough moment. The 29-year-old independent French artist of Cameroonian descent has since made a name for herself as a powerhouse in both the music and fashion industries. Yseult continues to make waves by advocating for size inclusivity, delivering genre-defying music, and making bold fashion statements. Recently, the star made headlines at the 77th Cannes Film Festival as she stunned onlookers with her homage to Christian Dior’s signature “New Look.” In the wake of her buzzworthy red carpet look, here are seven facts to know about Yseult.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 24: Yseult attends the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2024-2025 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on June 24, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Christian Dior)

The Nouvelle Star

Yseult made her music debut in 2013 as she graced the stage of the French singing competition show, Nouvelle Star. The young singer was only 19 years old when she auditioned with covers of “Tu m’oublieras” by Larusso and “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People. At the audition, Yseult revealed that her father forbade her from making music. She expressed that she hoped to share her music openly with her father by her side. In more recent interviews, she’s voiced how her love for music stems from the African and soul music her father enjoyed and the French pop songs her mother would listen to when Yseult was a child. 

The singer’s talent and vulnerability garnered accolades from the Nouvelle Star judges, advancing her through multiple rounds of the competition. With stirring performances of iconic tracks, including Stromae’s “Papaoutai” and Katy Perry’s “Roar,” she secured her place in the finals. In February 2014, Yseult took to the stage once more for the show’s finale and performed four songs — including a soul-stirring rendition of the timeless classic, “Feeling Good.” Though Yseult did not win the competition, she won the hearts of the French public. A month after the final episode, Yseult signed her first record deal with Polydor Records and began her professional journey in the music industry. 

Taking Control of Her Career

With singles, such as “La Vague” and “La Mamma,” released in 2014, Yseult had a promising start with Polydor. She then released her self-titled electropop debut album, Yseult. But despite her efforts, the album peaked only at number 69 on the French album charts and sold about 5,000 copies in the first week. Yseult wasn’t happy with the album’s pop direction and felt the album underperformed. Reflecting on her time with Polydor, Yseult later described the album as superficial and a product of industry pressure rather than genuine artistic expression.

This motivated her to take control of her career at the end of her contract with Polydor. In 2019, determined to carve her own path, Yseult established her independent label, Y.Y.Y. / I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA. Embracing the challenges of this newfound autonomy, Yseult had to master a new set of skills in production, management, marketing, and legal affairs. Now 100-percent independent, Yseult writes, produces, and manages all her music. Through her independent label, she has created a space that celebrates individuality and grants her full control over her artistic identity. 

Experimentation and Evolution

Yseult’s music journey showcases bold experimentation and authenticity. Her work reflects deep personal themes and innovative styles, with lyrics drawn from her own experiences of body image, mental health, family, and vulnerability. In 2019, Yseult released two EPs that marked significant stylistic shifts. Rogue explored sensuality with trap beats, while Noir addressed self-doubt and body image through a blend of piano-based pop and R&B. Her breakthrough hit, “Corps,” which means body, gained viral attention on TikTok. The piano ballad resonated deeply with her audience and empowered listeners by addressing injustices against women. Her lyrics read, “The way people look at me, I don’t care at all / Who are they to judge me?” 

The genre-defying artist’s recent singles, “BITCH YOU COULD NEVER” and “SUICIDE,” mark her debut in English-language music. Yseult is able to show off her versatility and willingness to push boundaries with these tracks. “BITCH YOU COULD NEVER” acts as a confidence booster and women-empowerment anthem, with Yseult screaming the lyrics and asserting her individuality and superiority. On the other hand, “SUICIDE” leans toward pop-rock as Yseult sings about isolation, self-loathing, and despair. In a 2020 interview with LeDevoir, Yseult described her sound as “Y-trap,” a variety of genres including indie rock, psychedelic, pop, and trap. 

Breaking Barriers On and Beyond the Runway 

Not only has Yesult graced runways with her stunning presence, but she has also broken barriers in the world of high fashion. At the Spring 2024 Paris Fashion Week, she made history as the first plus-size model to walk for Balenciaga under the creative direction of Demna Gvasalia. This groundbreaking moment showcased Yseult’s talent while challenging traditional beauty standards and striding toward greater inclusivity. The transformative partnership with Demna came after Yseult wrote to Balenciaga’s CEO, Cedric Charbit, asking to collaborate.

The fashionista’s influence extends beyond the runway as she advocates for size inclusivity in high-end fashion. She emphasizes the importance of accessibility, encouraging designers to make alterations that accommodate plus-size customers’ bodies. Yseult revealed to Dazed, “For ten years I didn’t buy anything because I was so scared, like I don’t feel confident in shops because they don’t have sizes for me, it’s crazy… I want to create a capsule collection with a brand and to have bigger sizes because it’s possible, and everyone knows it’s possible.” Her commitment to this cause goes beyond mere rhetoric, as she actively uses her platform to amplify marginalized voices. 

As a global ambassador for L’Oreal Paris and a model for luxury houses, such as Balmain, Mugler, Alexander McQueen, and Balenciaga, Yseult continues to push boundaries and challenge norms. From her emo-inspired teen look to her bold avant-garde style, the model’s fashion evolution mirrors her path to embracing her identity and celebrating individuality. 

A Bold Fashion Icon

The annual Cannes Film Festivals is Yesult’s fashion playground. Through the years, Yseult has made a name for herself through her iconic outfits and bold individuality on the film festival’s red carpet. Time after time, she constantly defies the conventional Old Hollywood style, opting for outfits that express her unique personality.

In 2021, she made a grand debut donning a custom Vivienne Westwood bridal look with a pannier skirt and lace detailing, paired with a matching parasol. In 2022, the artist appeared in a Schiaparelli ensemble featuring a fitted coat with sculpted bra-like accents, gold-toed boots, matching gloves, and a distinctive torso-shaped handbag. Last year, she graced the red carpet in an Alexander McQueen red-rose gown.

Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Her most recent iconic fashion moment came in May at the 77th Cannes. Yseult wore a custom Dior ensemble, paying homage to the timeless 1947 “New Look,” styled with a fitted Bar Jacket, black pleated skirt, leather gloves, and an avant-garde black straw hat. These larger-than-life styles continue to cement her status as a fashion icon who brings a daring sensibility to the traditional and oftentimes conservative Cannes red carpet. 

CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 16: Yseult attends the “Megalopolis” Red Carpet at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2024 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Intersectionality of Music and Fashion

Yseult uses both fashion and music to convey self-expression, activism, and empowerment. To her, the two art forms are linked and complement each other as she’s able to convey her emotions and messages through them. Her soulful music serves as a soundtrack to her striking presence on runways, amplifying both her artistic vision and her voice. Prior to strutting runways, Yseult was invited to fashion shows to perform songs, bridging the gap between music and fashion. 

In her music videos, such as “Corps,” she combines visual storytelling with activism, using fashion as a means to challenge societal norms and advocate for authenticity. In the visualizer for “Perdue,” Yseult wears two dresses from the Alexander McQueen archives that were selected and tailored for her by designer Sarah Burton. Beyond mere aesthetics, Yseult sees fashion as a powerful tool to express herself in both vulnerability and strength.

Confidence and Self-Love: An Inspirational Figure

Yseult’s journey is a testament to the power of self-love and confidence. In an interview with W Magazine, she revealed she’s always had a positive attitude and faith in life and herself. She added, “In general, we are programmed to be less and less and less, and eventually, we’ll be nothing. So I say: I like my belly, even though sometimes, it bothers me. I love my body, I love my skin color, and I love my hair.” Despite societal pressure to conform, Yseult boldly embraces her individuality, challenging norms and inspiring others to do the same. 

The singer’s openness about her struggles with mental health and body image has made her a relatable figure. She shared with Dazed, “It’s still sometimes difficult because I compare myself with the world, but the difference is, when I was in high school there was no representation like there is now. Today, you can see me on the McQueen runway and the Balenciaga runway, and women like me working in fashion, but when I was young, it wasn’t like that — on the runway, on TV, I didn’t see a fat girl like me, or even a fat boy, or many women of color.”

Through her advocacy and historical achievements, Yseult is reshaping the narrative of beauty and style while inspiring others to embrace their unique qualities with pride. 

Be on the lookout for Yseult’s upcoming single “TUNING,” which will be available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube

Keep up with her on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook

Looking to add more female artists to your musical rotation? Check out EnVi’s Seven Things installment about Indonesian singer-songwriter NIKI, here!