A breakdown of some of Israel’s top designer houses.
Several weeks ago, I traveled to Israel with Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phila-delphia, rededicating the Cis Golder Healing Garden at Orr Shalom in Beersheva, visiting the Nevatim Air Force Base and the city of Netivot, and, of course, taking in the sights, sounds and wonders of this fabulous country.
I discovered Maskit, one of Israel’s top designer houses, to bring you some Tel Aviv fashion.
Launched in 1954 by Ruth Dayan (wife of famed Gen. Moshe), the firm was originally founded to employ the skills of immigrants. As the story goes, Maskit’s first designer, Fini Laintersdorf, showed the line at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in a massive snowstorm. Andrew Goodman, renowned owner of Bergdorf Goodman, walked across the street to see it, loved it, showcased it at his store and a fashion star rose in the sky.
Fast-forward almost 60 years.
Like the rest of us five years ago, young Israeli designer Sharon Tal watched the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, eyeing every detail of the princess’ exquisite Alexander McQueen dress — her former employer.
Having moved back to Tel Aviv from London, a new at-home mom with her first child, that gorgeous wedding gown lighted the spark for Tal to go back to designing. She and her husband, Nir, contacted Ruth Dayan, now nearing 100, and Maskit was reborn.
As head of embroidery at Alexander McQueen in London, Tal clearly brings first-rate credentials to the line. Simultaneously very luxe boho. Very vintage/very of-the-moment. Very Naeem Khan.
I had to ask: Did she ever meet Princess Kate?
“No. But I understand she is unbelievably nice and certainly has a great sense of style,” she said.
Alexander McQueen? “A true genius, so troubled the last few years of his life.”
Tal interned for Alber Elbaz, former designer for Lanvin; they are both graduates of Shenkar College of En-gineering and Design, the prestigious Israeli design school, comparable to the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. She has trained under two true master designers.
Only 34, Tal is the girl with everything. Warm, pretty, charming and hugely talented. A native Israeli, her heritage is half-Moroccan, half-Turkish; that beautiful Mediterranean look comes through in many of her designs. Intricate embroidery. Beautiful beading. She will customize any design, using the beadwork from one style on the bodice of another.
Now available in three stores in Israel and online, maskit.com (remember you get back the 17 percent value-added tax), has the backing of business titan Stefan Wertheimer. Hopefully, the line will be available in U.S. stores in the near future.
Mother of the bride. Fabulous party in the Hamptons. Chic dinner on your deck. Elegant. Edgy. Modern. Maskit.
From Ruth Dayan to Sharon Tal to you — history, heritage, talent, grace. I cannot imagine a more wonderful way to look this summer.