Israel does not lack for emerging design talent, but heritage houses are a rarity: Maskit, founded in 1954 by social activist Ruth Dayan, is its only one.
By providing work for immigrant artisans, it aided in Israel’s economic development as an independent country. Maskit shuttered in 1994 and laid dormant until 2014 when it was revived under Dayan’s watchful eye by former head of embroidery for Alexander McQueen, Sharon Tal.
Tal added M by Maskit, a contemporary sister line, to the brand’s couture offerings, allowing her to reach a broader range of consumers. M by Maskit’s spring 2022 collection will be available at a SoHo pop-up store later this month, and with a new advertising campaign to fete the launch, the brand is bringing its Israeli approach to quiet luxury to the American marketplace.
Straightforward silhouettes and soft draping allow each piece in the lineup to easily transition between levels of formality. A little black wrap dress, for example, can be sported as a tunic, while a halter-neck jumpsuit and silken robe jacket feature ties that tailor the garment with a simple cinch.
True to Maskit’s legacy, it is the details that make the clothes sing. A pair of insouciant summer dresses, one in navy and the other in sky blue, feature hand-painted florals and tissue paper hemlines. Elsewhere, several denim styles are mere canvases for an archival embossing technique.
The spring campaign makes a solid case for tone-on-tone dressing in hues like blush and sage green. “We wanted to bring the colors of nature and the desert of Israel to New York’s urbanity,” Tal said. She accomplished this, quite literally, by splashing the images and video footage across 12 billboards in Times Square.
Though the storefront at 74 Wooster Street is the brand’s only foray into stand-alone retail outside Israel, Maskit is no stranger to the global stage. At the height of its success, Maskit designs were often sported by Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor — both of whom were fans of the perennial Midbar coat.
Recently, Tal collaborated with Sarah Jessica Parker and costume designer Molly Rogers on a custom caftan beaded with peacock feathers for the premiere episode of “And Just Like That.” With the helping hand of celebrity, the designer hopes Maskit’s contributions to fashion will receive their due.
“We strive hard to make sure that our clients can fully enjoy Maskit’s value and uniqueness,” Tal said. “We are glad to be able to share it with more people.”
The M by Maskit spring 2022 collection is produced in Israel and ranges between $100 and $500.