Hed Mayner is a young Paris-based menswear designer whose innovative work is deeply inspired by his middle eastern origins. The oversized proportion of his garments is influenced by old Jewish tailoring and creates a balance between strength and vulnerability by delivering a modern touch to luxury clothing. We spoke to him about his origins and his relationship with Paris, with the hopes of gaining better knowledge of his contemporary creative vision.
You grew up in a small village in Northern Israel close to the Lebanese borders. It is a very complex land influenced by different cultures. Tell us how your origins inspired your work when you first decided to start dressmaking and sewing and how they influence you now that your work is more refined/sophisticated.
When I started making clothes, what pushed me mostly was the desire to create something, and then there was a point when this desire came together with the people I saw around me; I moved to Jerusalem, where I felt I was living in the center of the world. Here I was living amongst many different ideas that interested me; the idea of spirituality, tradition, vulnerability, power and nobility.
The different uniforms each group adopts to express themselves fascinated me. The old Jewish tailoring is more about wrapping the body rather than shaping it. In the collection, there is a tension between fluidity and structured garments, which is a great proposal for men today. The oversized proportion that looks like you are wearing your big brother’s jacket gives a sense of strength and vulnerability at the same time.
The idea of luxury does not exist in Jerusalem in the same way it does in Europe. The tailoring is never really perfect, but it still looks refined and noble. This inspires me. It is a unique form of classic tailoring and the status of the clothes is not very clear. To me it’s a modern way of looking at luxury clothing.
What’s your relationship with Paris? What role has Paris played in your creative work and in your life?
I love the cold wind in Paris. It was a place for me to study and observe the old crafts, to visit the bookstores. Paris is a confusing place. You have this dream about Paris related to pleasure, beauty and harmony but it’s not an accessible dream.
What is your main goal when it comes to designing a collection?
I just create something that I feel related or connected too. Something that reflects what I feel about clothes, fashion or people in that particular moment. I am motivated to create a collection that reflects the way I feel people should dress today. The main goal is to open a new point of view. I want it to be beautiful.
Your color palette is mainly neutral: it swings from pure white to deep black going through beige, khaki and gray. Could you tell us why you made this choice?
In this collection I wanted the pieces to be easily recognizable; a khaki bomber, beige trench, blue jeans, white shirt, but the proportion, construction and finishing is different. So it looks familiar and not familiar at the same time.
Is there a particular garment you prefer to design?
I love designing shoes.
Is there someone you really admire and who inspires you in fashion or any other creative field? Give us some names.
I love the early work of Yamamoto, Armani and Mariano Fortuny, the dancer and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and the musician Arvo Part.
How would you describe a Hed Mayner person?
The work we do is trying to fit a contrasted personality. We like to keep the idea of openness and allow for different interpretations. Each person who wears the clothes will relate to a certain emotion. I don’t think people want to be defined so easily today.
Have you ever thought about designing a women’s collection?
Yes, I think about it often.
What’s coming up next in your plans for the future?
For the near future we are preparing our presentation for the FW collection 2015, which will be presented in January during Paris Fashion Week.