For one weekend this Fall, September 17 & 18, 2016, a representation of Israel's top up-and-coming fashion and jewelry designers will showcase their collections in a pop up shop at Artists & Fleas in Williamsburg. From now until the opening of the pop up shop, we will be featuring a series of interviews with featured Israeli designers.
Michal Hidas: HIDAS
A&F: What made you want to be a fashion designer?
Michal Hidas: Fashion has always been a part of me. After the Second World War, my grandfather, one of two only Holocaust survivors in his family, arrived in Israel and met my grandmother. Together they founded one of the most widely known Israeli fashion labels and store, Ata, which brought global fashion to the new tiny State. My mother grew up around Ata so you could say I inherited her state of mind that fashion and art are the keys to self-expression, inspiration and simply - life.
In Israel army service is mandatory after high school. I served for two years, as women are required to do. My job in the army was to serve as a liaison between the military and wounded soldiers and their families. Before joining the army I did a year of national service where I worked with children and families in a developing low- income community. Those were tough years in which I was exposed to many difficult situations, and I decided then I wanted to work with beauty, joy and life. Fashion was a very natural choice for me so I started to study in Israel and from there I went to the best fashion school in Milan.
A&F: What was the first piece you ever designed/created?
MH: As the youngest child and only girl after four boys, you can imagine I was the perfect Tom-Boy. I was sure that I was a boy. The first piece I designed was perhaps at the age of three. I took an old “Ninja Turtles” T Shirt that belonged to one of my big brothers. My mother says I explained assertively and without any willingness to compromise exactly how and where I wanted it to be cut. The result was a Ninja’s asymmetrical but precisely fringed model. Just ask my mom and she will be happy to show it to you.
A&F: Who is your favorite designer?
MH: I appreciate designers who care and discuss important matters in their designs. I believe fashion is a great platform to raise awareness because people love fashion and by wearing it people express their own agenda, in front of their friends, family and the whole world. This is one of fashion’s powers. When designers manage to combine their identifiable aesthetics, fashion and agendas I think they succeed big time. One of the greatest examples is Vivienne Westwood, whom I had the privilege to know personally and drew much inspiration from her as a person and a designer. I believe Miuccia Prada is also a wonderful woman and knows how to find the right aesthetic ways to combine fashion, art and intellectual matters. Of course Alexander McQueen at the time, Viktor & Rolf and more.
A&F: Do you have a muse?
MH: My muse is a modern woman with a high sense of style. She lives in the global modern world. Absorbs a lot of information, simultaneously, at any given moment.And yet reflects her own inner world and values in everything she does. She doesn't take anything for granted and she is a leader in her own way, leading herself and sometimes also her close or wide social circle to take action when needed in a positive and inspiring way.
A&F: What celebrity would you like to see wearing your collection?
MH: Michelle Obama, Natalie Portman, Emma Watson and of course …. Joan Rivers.
What is the inspiration behind your new collection?
MH: The Fall/Winter 20162017 Bridging collection, produced in collaboration with an experienced architect from Gaza, is a capsule collection loaded with emotional and symbolic meaning, where bold colours, precious textiles and original prints talk about the wish for the day they will live in peace together.