Last week we gave you the background to the Maskit story of 2014. Today we bring the journey of the revival, behind the scenes of the creation of “Homage” collection, and reveal the first part of our “sampling marathon”.

maskit-desert-coat

Part 1 left off with Sharon Tal (the new head designer of Maskit) setting out to meet the founder of Maskit , Ruth Dayan for the first time.

 Entryway into Maskit with gold dress made of Damascus fabric. Sharon contacted a person in Damascus, whose father used to work with Maskit. Due to the political situation there it’s difficult to get things from Syria, but the supplier remembered Ruth and Maskit and was willing to make custom-made fabric. It’s hand woven cotton and silk only produced in Damascus. Maskit Jewelry (right).

Entryway into Maskit with gold dress made of Damascus fabric. Sharon contacted a person in Damascus, whose father used to work with Maskit. Due to the political situation there it’s difficult to get things from Syria, but the supplier remembered Ruth and Maskit and was willing to make custom-made fabric. It’s hand woven cotton and silk only produced in Damascus. Maskit Jewelry (right).

The Beginning:

Sharon and Ruth’s initial “1 hour meeting” lasted all day, the two were so enthralled in conversation. After this they would meet often, but Sharon insists she had no intention of convincing Ruth to re-establish Maskit.

As Sharon tells it: About 10 designers a week would approach Ruth wanting to learn about (and possibly revive) Maskit. I didn’t know that I wanted to do it. Only after we spent a lot of time together, somehow we started to do it. After two years of research and visiting many artisans that used to work with Maskit, it all came together. It was a very organic process.

Photo by Nir Kafri

Photo by Nir Kafri

DT: Tell us about Ruth.
Sharon: Ruth is amazing! At 97 she leads a very busy life – driving all over Israel and has appointments all day long. It’s a miracle, not a woman.

Why Maskit:

Egg coat very versatile can be worn in a myriad of different ways, inspired by the Desert Coat

The famous ‘Egg Coat’ is very versatile and can be worn many different ways. It is a take off of the ‘Desert Coat’.

Bringing back heritage brands that have a rich history and depth has been the trend in Europe for some time. The revived fashion houses are injected with a breath of fresh air and come back modern but with strong back stories. Israel had a powerful heritage Fashion House in Maskit, that saw success around the world, so why not do it here too? A question that some, including Sharon, have pondered over the years.

White jacket trimmed with leather, with Yemenite inspired cuff embroidery.

White jacket trimmed with leather, with Yemenite inspired cuff embroidery.

DT: Why Maskit? You are obviously a talented designer with the right credentials, why not your own label? Do you perhaps, have a soft spot for the history behind the ‘Brand’?
Sharon: I don’t know if it’s a “soft spot for the history”. I understood when I came back here that I have two options since there are no fashion houses in Israel: I can work for a high street brand like Castro and Honigman or open my own label since young designers here don’t hire other designers. It’s a one man show, the designer does everything. After McQueen I said to myself- I have a lot of knowledge and collections under my belt, so why not go for my own brand? But then I read an article about Maskit and said to myself- there was something so big here in Israel. And I told my husband- if I’m giving my life to something, it has to be something really big- and Maskit is big.

Bethlehem embroidery long evening dress. Historically Maskit used  this technique often.

Bethlehem embroidery long evening dress. Historically Maskit used this technique often. Sharon: Maskit used Bethlehem embroidery a lot. It lays on the fabric and doesn’t go through to the other side. It’s like drawing with thread – it stays on the fabric with tiny little catches. I went to Bethlehem to see if someone could do it for me and I found someone left who could teach me and then I taught everyone here at the studio.

DT: Looking back over the history of Maskit, are there any famous women that stand out to you as having represented important “Maskit fashion moments”?
Sharon: Audrey Hepburn was big, Pauline Trigere – known as a designer but she was also a huge style icon of New York. There were a lot but those big moments. VOGUE did a massive article about Maskit in ‘69, as did Cosmopolitan. Almost all the magazines talked about Maskit.

famous-maskit-vogue-celebs

A year ago the work on the revival ‘Homage’ collection began. Sharon looked back at 40 years of activity of the brand, the artisans and the designers, in essence the rich history of Maskit. Sharon wanted to encompass all the stories, details, and textiles into one comeback collection.

Silk dress utilizing  "Pulling Out Thread" embroidery.  Threads are pulled out of fabric, and embroidered around the holes it creates. Its also inspired by Yemenite motifs.

Silk dress utilizing “Pulling Out Thread” embroidery. Threads are pulled out of fabric, and embroidered around the holes it creates. Its also inspired by Yemenite motifs.

The details of production:

DT: Do you do all your production work in studio?
Sharon: In order to keep the quality and the uniqueness I can’t do everything here. I try to do as much as possible in the studio, but to print on fabric I need to contract out to Italy or India.

DT: Where do you get your fabrics?
Sharon: All our fabrics are natural, I travel to Paris twice a year on buying trips.

This print is inspired by the Arabeska (Islamic ornaments), traditionally used on walls, floor and ceramics. Sharon: We took the motif but changed colors and positions. We printed on silk, had to send outside of Israel for printing.

This print is inspired by the Arabeska (Islamic ornaments), traditionally used on walls, floor and ceramics. Sharon: We took the motif but changed colors and positions. We printed on silk, had to send outside of Israel for printing.

DT: How do you know how much you need?
Sharon: I don’t. At first I order some (not much), its hard to start with small quantities, but now that I am doing production I order more. Thankfully I have lot’s of connections with suppliers because of my background, so they know me and they are willing to do it (give small quantities at first).

The tag of each and every item in this, and only this, collection is signed by Ruth Dayan – how is that for a collectors item!?

Ruth Dayan Signature

Stay tuned for Part 3- The Future: for what Sharon sees in store (pun intended) for Maskit- its a lot! AND more of our favorite designs modeled by yours truly- Michell, Daina and Sonya.

Read the whole series:

The Revival Of Maskit: Part 1- The Past
The Revival Of Maskit: Part 2- The Present
The Revival Of Maskit: Part 3- The Future

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