Strong Suit: Men's Fashion With a Hasidic Touch

Sahar Shalev
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From Hed Mayner’s collection. Unending wearability options.Credit: Cecile Bortoletti
Sahar Shalev

Hed Mayner aimed to craft a “rational masculine closet” in his debut collection. The young designer, having completed his studies in fashion and jewelry at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design two years ago, then wandered to Paris and back, and has now created one of the most consolidated, contemporary, thrillingly masculine collections seen in these parts. Mayner integrates a well-honed fashion perception with inspiration from local sources, technical know-how and a nod to current global trends. All of this is reflected in a wardrobe that includes long trench coats, short jackets, bomber jackets, T-shirts, army-style pants, jeans and more – a clothing collection that looks both fashionable and Israeli.

When Mayner says he feels Jerusalem is the center of the world, it is easy to believe him. In the course of his studies in the capital, he was introduced to Hasidic sartorial culture, and from it he drew inspiration for tailored clothing, textures and silhouettes.

“In Jerusalem, people wear real clothes,” he states. “The Hasidim wear tailored, Eastern European-style clothing, clothes that have something aristocratic about them, that are prestigious and elegant. For example, there are clothes made of silk, breathtaking hats and tailored jackets that are slightly disproportionate, with these old-style patterns that are long and large and remind you of army uniforms, for instance the IDF-issue ‘dubon’ parka, which is not very flattering but is part of the local terrain.”

Borrowing from both these genres, he cooked up a collection that combines European tailoring with military wear in a gorgeous spectrum of black, white, olive green, beige and washed-out blue denim. You can find a range of double-breasted short jackets (with and without sleeves) with especially wide lapels (“like a Hasidic coat,” he explains), a lovely trench coat with rounded removable sleeves, and military-looking oversized and collarless bomber jackets (in green or blue).

His concept of a rational wardrobe may be discerned in the unity of the collection and its unending wearability options – with combinations of tailored items and military items, a selection of festive white shirts (including a perfect white nightshirt constructed of delicate material), multi-pleated shorts, stone-washed and torn blue jeans with stitching, khaki shirts, pants fashioned from cotton Ethiopian scarf fabric, classic old-man undershirts and outsized tapered pants.

“These are articles of clothing that look classic on the hanger and look different when they are worn,” he says, as he presents the collection. And for the first time – after designers more senior than he always seem to be drawing attention to the small details but for the most part neglect the big picture – it is possible to see what he’s talking about: slightly different proportions (mainly when it comes to designs that hang off the body), meticulous sewing that is noticeable because most of the items are unlined; and an assortment of real clothes that come across as simultaneously classic and contemporary. It implies that the local and the international can neatly coexist (one name that came to mind on seeing the collection was the Turkish designer Umit Benan).

Mayner is one of the most promising designers now working in Israel. The wardrobe he offers is a lesson in masculine fashion that belongs to the here and now. And this in itself is a major accomplishment.

Hed Mayner Studio, 73 Kibbutz Galuyot, 1st floor, Tel Aviv. By appointment, tel. 054-477-8386Prices: Pants: 400-900 shekels. Jackets and coats: 1,200-2,500 shekels. Shirts: 300-600 shekels.

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