See the First Collection of Revived Israeli Fashion House Maskit

Sharon Tal has designs on revitalizing the colorful Maskit brand, which operated in Israel for 40 years until the mid-1990s, and has even recruited original owner Ruth Dayan to the cause.

After a long stay in Europe, where she worked for Lanvin in Paris and Alexander McQueen in London, designer Sharon Tal returned to Israel in 2011. She wanted to start an independent brand here “that would be both local and international,” she says. Her identification with the values represented by the legendary Israeli brand Maskit motivated her to initiate a meeting with Ruth Dayan, founder of the fashion house. The meeting turned into a series of meetings, and ultimately Tal succeeded in convincing Dayan to revive the brand that was established in the 1950s and closed in 1994.

The second incarnation of the brand was officially announced Thursday, along with the display of its first collection. It was designed by Tal as a tribute to Maskit’s 40 years of activity, and owes an aesthetic debt to the brand’s colorful legacy.

The collection was preceded by Tal and Dayan's joint trips across the country to find craftswomen who worked with Maskit in the past, plus other skilled artisans. The new Maskit has opened offices and a studio in Tel Aviv’s American Colony and recruited investors, including billionaire industrialist Stef Wertheimer.

Tal hopes to expand the brand's future offerings to dishes and objets d’art, just like the original Maskit format, and to develop original fabrics in Israel. She also envisions opening a new Maskit factory.

Can an initiative of this kind – which in its day was started for nationalist reasons – succeed in the contemporary reality, which operates mainly in the international arena? There is no question that the challenge is great. But a no less interesting question is whether it can mark a new and optimistic chapter in the history of local fashion and stimulate young designers.

Dudi Hasson