MIRIT WEINSTOCK - interview with the triple threat: fashion designer, jewelry designer and artist who lives and works between Tel Aviv and Paris.
Your Facebook page features the motto: “The less fashion she wears, the more beautiful she is”?
I liked this quote by Armani that I found years ago. I think it is about staying true to who you are instead of trying too hard and becoming a fashion victim.
You are a triple threat of fashion designer, jewelry designer and artist - where does one begin and end?
All those three elds in uence and inspire one another. In my jewelry there are details and inspirations from fashion, while the jewellery are often referred to as “art pieces or small sculptures”. In my art works I use materials that I initially used in my jewelry and fashion such
as eyelashes, embroidery, porcelain etc. This creates a versatile body of work that explores not only questions inside fashion, jewelry or ne art but also the dialogue between them.
You described your collection as: ‘dreamy, poetic and slightly humorous, drawing inspiration from childhood memories and souvenirs to create a surrealist nal showcase.’ How do you distill the above into polished luxury offerings?
I’m fascinated by materials; mostly ones that possess a poetic aspect in them such as origami boats, eyelashes, sparkling ornaments etc. I play with them in the studio and transform them into jewelry by dipping them in silver or gold and later designing a completely new and surprising jewelry combining them with pearls, stones and other motives from the classic jewelry world. I think “Luxury crafted ne jewelry” is the best title to describe my jewelry, given by Colette when the collection was launched there in 2011.
You honed your skills alongside Alexander McQueen and Alber Elbaz at Lanvin – what was that experience like?
It was 13 years ago when I decided to travel to Europe and nd internships in fashion houses.
It was my dream after graduation! I was lucky to have the opportunity to work in those masters’ studios. At McQueen I worked mostly on hand made pieces like a shoelace dress and
a pompom coat – two beautiful pieces that ended up on the runway! At Lanvin most of the internship period I was the only intern in the studio (!), which allowed me to work quite closely with Alber Elbaz. He included me in many studio activities: I did research for the new collections, helped the design team, was part of things and helped towards the runway shows. It was magical, inspiring and stressful like fashion is...
How tricky was it to forge your own style while working for such big names?
I was too honoured to even think about my own style. I admired both McQueen and Alber Elbaz so much! Of course I hoped that one day I could be as amazing as they are / were. When I decided later to launch my own brand I realized how much the experience in uenced my style. Maybe even too much in my rst collections
What are your abiding memories of Alexander McQueen?
The way he did tting, it was like watching magic... a piece of fabric suddenly became a sculpture on the model’s body.
You launched your ready to wear collection for women in 2004 - how do you maintain your super-enthusiastic energy?
My RTW collection is a capsule collection, produced in-house and sold only in Israel. Although it is not sold internationally like my jewelry, and is rather small it is a precious creation for me because fashion is my rst love, and I guess that is what keeps me enthusiastic. In my collections I focus on two big loves: romantic dresses and vintage pieces that I nd in ea markets around the world and later hand work on them.
M♥W is a high-end luxury crafts jewelry collection - Tell us about your new jewelry collection for fall?
For Fall/Winter 2017 jewelry collection I present “Tatamu” – “to fold” in Japanese. The collection is inspired by Japanese paper arts, translating the paper textures, creases, folds and structures into jewelry. I’m presenting sparkling pieces with a 1980’s inspiration spark, focusing on geometric shapes such as hoops, circles, and holes.
What is your creative process for Jewellery?
My creative process is all about exploring materials and transforming them into completely new objects. I look at a shuttlecock ball and see jewelry. I search and play with materials constantly: eyelashes, whistles, party ornaments, dry owers, papers, origami, balloons, small plastic animals, cocktail straws... All are potential jewelry for me. When I visit a 100yen shop I get dizzy from ideas. It is such a creative, fun, playful and surprising process and it is endless as there are so many wonderful materials around us.
Your work has been exhibited at top boutiques around the world such as Joyce HK, Galeries Lafayette Beijing, Maryam Nassir Zadeh NY etc. - which other countries would you like to expand into?
I’m so honored that my jewelry are exhibited in those boutiques and many more! Since 2015 my jewelry sales are expanding in Japan. This is very exciting and I have since had the chance to visit a few times. With each visit I’m more and more fascinated by Japan’s culture, crafts, style, art and design. I would de nitely want to expand my brand visibility in Japan, show my art works there and spend more time in this inspiring country.
You completed your Masters of Fine Arts Degree in 2013 - why would a fashion designer need to study art?
I was flirting with the fine art world for years before applying to the MFA program. I felt that I wanted to go deeper in to the art world, explore new ways of thinking and medias to create in. It was such a journey! Very different from design; I did use in my art works my skills as a fashion and jewelry designer but it is a whole new approach and thinking to create works that have only a symbolic meaning rather than a functional one. In my MFA I started doing video art and sound works, text works and photography.
Your first solo exhibition “Love Does(nt) Exist” You were inspired by a curious linguistic phenomenon in an Azerbaijan traditional language, Juhuri, in which there is no word for ‘LOVE’??
I was speaking with my friend Mark about his girlfriend and their love story. He replied that he doesn’t think about it that way. Mark explained that his parents are originally from Azerbaijan and in their language Juhuri the word love doesn’t exist. I thought that was quite fascinating and weird at the same time. Two years later when I started working on my solo exhibition I began exploring and interviewing immigrants from Azerbaijan to learn more about their language and the use of the word love. They explained that each love is different, so they express it in different words and don’t refer the single term “love” to everything they love from a lover to child to food. This raised many questions about the use of the word love in English, French and Hebrew (the languages I speak) such as why do we use only one word to describe such different emotions? Why do we use this word so often, almost without thinking about its meaning..? That was the beginning of my exhibition. Later, inspired by Juhuri I invited writers, poets and philosophers to write a text about the thing they love the most without using the word love. I chose 11 texts and created 11 art works, each work referring to a text. A small book with the texts was exhibited alongside the works.
Are you participating in any exhibitions currently?
Yes I am, and for the rst time in a museum! I’m showing “My Sad Houses” – paper sculptures dipped in silver and gold in the Israeli Paper Biennale “On The Edge” at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. It is a wonderful show that will exhibit until the end of summer to: It is a wonderful show that will exhibit until the fall.
You’ve established yourself as a leading fashion brand, jewelry designer and artist - what type of creative collaborations are you potentially interested in?
I would love to collaborate with fashion houses I love such as Simone Rocha, Ashish or Mui Mui creating a jewelry collection for them. I would also love to expend my collaborations with boutiques that carry my jewelry and collaborate with them in the eld of ne arts. I’m dreaming about site-speci c installations in those boutiques amazing spaces, that will create new dialogues between fashion and art.
You split your time between Tel Aviv and Paris - What’s the TA fashion scene like? How does it differ from Paris?
TA fashion scene is much more experimental than the classic established fashion we see in Paris. I think TA is full of energy and talent. It is quite difficult to be a designer in Israel as it is a small country without much government support for designers and the production industry. Many designers own small shops and produce their collections in-house. In the past years we see more and more Israeli designers that show and sell internationally which makes me very happy! Marketing is key - the romantic approach of an artist that only sits in his atelier and creates doesn’t exist in our era, and I wonder if it ever did. Good marketing requires creativity too and can be quite interesting sometimes.
Credits - Mirit Weinstock