Hed Mayner, 2019 Prix Karl Lagerfeld LVMH Jury Award winner’s functional wear is sent to space and embodies a utilitarian aesthetic touched by the fine hand of an atelier.
Words by Meryl Fontek
Photos by Sybille Walter
Styling bySamuel Drira Courtesy of Encens magazine 41, Fall/Winter 2019
Revealing the strength in fluidity, Hed Mayner’s designs seem to know no bounds. A veil of ambiguity permeates his collections, functional wear is sent to space and embodies a utilitarian aesthetic touched by the fine hand of an atelier, metamorphic in gender and movement. With exaggerated hemlines, asymmetrical coattails, billowing fabric of unexpected layers and a spirit that is as effortless as it is thoughtful, Mayner has carved out a space for his signature motif and is being recognized accordingly. He was selected from a pool of 1,700 applicants as one of the eight finalists of the prestigious 2019 LVMH Prize which will be revealed this June.
Would you share a bit about where you’re from and your background?
Hed Mayner: When I was quite young, I met a woman who had a large atelier in the north of Israel near where I lived. The woman had spent time living in Japan and had a home filled with interesting objects and working tools. She was the one who taught me how to cut and sew.
How did your fashion career begin?
HM: During my time at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, I was very drawn to both sculpture and fashion. After I graduated I moved to Paris and studied at the Institut Français de la Mode. When I was ready to start my own brand, I moved back to Tel Aviv. French designer and publisher of Encens magazine, Samuel Drira, helped me develop the image of the brand. With his help, my first collection came out in 2015. It was important to remain independent, especially at this time, so we could naturally find our customer. We sold the collections in Japan and then eventually in the US and Europe. We had the opportunity to have our first show in France when we had finished our first three collections. That was the first time the brand was exposed to the world. Since then, the collections are sold at Dover Street Market and Galeries Lafayette.
What inspires your aesthetic and your work?
HM: My method is to treat the clothing like it’s a sculpture. I transform classic pieces from the everyday wardrobe and make them more dynamic and alive. I am drawn to fabric that looks familiar at first glance but is actually totally different than what you’d expect. I use cotton and wool but I give the garment different weight so that when you wear it, there is a feeling that is both new and comforting.
How have your collections evolved over the course of your career? Is there something specific you explore in your designs?
HM: I always explore shape. I’ve always started by scaling up and making the garments “unsized”. I then combine multiple proportions into one garment to create a new silhouette, an evolution of form and movement, if you will.
What would you say is your signature motif and how does that reflect you as a designer?
HM: The jacket we did this winter very much embodies my design aesthetics. The idea is to focus on the body language of the piece when it’s simply hanging. To create shape out of the shapeless, to distort while maintaining a classical element. Heavy cotton, pleats and folding are used to give sculptural effect in the pieces.
What can we expect from your upcoming collection (Spring/Summer 19)?
HM: You’ll find out in June…
You are a finalist for the LVMH prize. Can you speak a bit about this process and what comes next?
HM: I was selected as one of the 20 semifinalists and was afforded the tremendous opportunity to introduce the world to my work in a complete way. I was then chosen as one of the final eight. In June there is another selection and then the nomination for the prize. We are extremely happy to have gotten this far and to get to know the incredible people involved
*Article updated September 4th, 2019