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Maiyet’s Declan Kearney on the true meaning of a modern wardrobe
Name three adjectives that describe Maiyet
“Inspirational, innovative and socially aware.”
How are you moving Maiyet forward?
“I feel like it’s my responsibility to marry a strong creative vision with a practicality that addresses the wardrobe needs of modern women. The clothes appeal to many different women, but also the same woman on many different days. For example, the spring 2016 collection showed a hammered silk dress with a sexy keyhole in the back that is perfect for evening, but if you layer it with the suede aviator vest, it can be worn to the office.”
“At the core of both my design philosophy and the Maiyet mission is a desire to build collections that transcend seasons and that can be added to and built upon layer on layer, season after season. Sensuality is also tantamount to everything I do from the way the clothes feel on the body and draw your eye around the female form, to the way fabrics move and float.”
What’s the mood of the spring collection?
“Spring was inspired by a journey – the Maiyet girl’s journey, her wanderlust, and her limitless imagination. I was inspired by the boundless spirit of female explorers like Amelia Earhart and NASA’s unsung hero Katherine Johnson. The colour palette and textures of the collection were inspired by the Mongolian desert and Arizona’s Antelope Canyon. The palette tracked the subtly changing light in these places so we showed various hues of sand, haze, dusk, sunset and anthracite.”
Describe the experience of working with the artisans. How do you approach fusing traditional techniques with modern design elements?
“I have enormous respect for tradition and for preserving ancient techniques in new and thought-provoking ways. Our artisan partners are very excited to work with new materials in traditional ways. We brought our partners in India foam tubing rather than typical materials they work with everyday and the result was powerful. Our relationship is give-and-take and we learn from one another, respecting the knowledge and perspective we each deliver to the equation.”
Did you discover anything new when working on spring 2016? An unexpected point of inspiration?
“I was very humbled to learn of Katherine Johnson when I was researching Spring 2016. She was an African American woman, a NASA space scientist, physicist and mathematician. She calculated early flights into space, including mankind’s first flight to the moon. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of her before. We’ve all heard of Neil Armstrong. It really made me think of all the people busy toiling away behind the scenes in order to make great things happen. We’re not reinventing space travel at Maiyet, but we are, with the efforts of our studio in New York and our community of global artisans, hopefully re-imagining what a modern and confident woman desires and values.”
This month, Holt Renfew on Bloor street is hosting a pop-up shop of Maiyet’s Resort 2016 collection. The spring 2016 collection is also available for pre-order.