Sharon Tal

MASKIT TAKES NEW YORK: Friends of the Israel Defense Forces’ tristate region is hosting Maskit Fashion House’s NYFW debut today at Metropolitan West. Started in 1954 and known as the first fashion house of Israel, the company belonged to the Israeli government in its earlier years. The idea was to provide work for immigrants and to teach them craftsmanship as well as new techniques. In its prime, there were 2,000 employees and 10 freestanding stores, including a Fifth Avenue location. In 1994, it was shut down before being revived five years ago. Head designer Sharon Tal interned for Alber Elbaz at one point, before specializing in embroidery at Alexander McQueen. The brand is now backed by Lyn and Stef Wertheimer and is being shown for a limited time in New York.

In addition to the fashion show, the company is showcasing a large-scale art project titled “Mount Sodom” by Israeli fashion photographer Eyal Nevo. On view at 10 Times Square through Oct. 6, the project features dancers from the Inbal Dance Theater, Israel’s first and oldest modern dance company. Mount Sodom premiered in Tel Aviv in June in the presence of Israel’s first lady.

The fashion presentation will launch FIDF’s Philanthropic Women Campaign and give 250 guests the chance to learn about Israeli fashion and to shop for designer Israeli clothing. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to FIDF’s programs in support of the soldiers. A few models were former Israeli soldiers. Chief executive officer Nir Tal said, “We use Israeli models as much as we can, since most of the Israeli models used to be in the army, contributing their part.…But we are more focused on the lifestyle coming from Israel and the design scene. When we talk about Israel, we only consider it to be a great inspiration source and lifestyle is definitely our thing — 72 different cultures living together and amazing geography. We would love to contribute to anybody who has a respectable cause and is contributing to society.”

Established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors, the FIDF is geared toward providing education and the well-being of the men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Forces as well as the families of fallen soldiers. The IDF has been guarding the State of Israel since it declared independence in 1948.

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