Style Junkie: Wrapping it up

When it comes to fashion, sometimes a special little something can go a long way.

Tamar Branitzky (photo credit: Courtesy)
Tamar Branitzky
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With the Mayan forecast (of the world coming to an end on December 21) put to rest, the realization that yes, a new year has begun has finally hit. Though perhaps less central a transition in Israel than in many foreign locales, the changeover from December to January is loaded with its share of resolutions.
Some have to do with being a better person in the coming months, others with projecting a different image to the outside world. Our wardrobes are obviously a major part of how we express ourselves to the people around us, and they often end up on the chopping block in January.
Sometimes a special little something can go a long way in this department. To fit this niche, I introduce textile designer Tamar Branitzky. One look at Branitzky’s wide collection of scarves can easily answer the question of “What can I add to this look to spruce it up some?” Ranging from wild colors to modest black on white, Branitzky’s textiles are fierce, sharp and utterly feminine.
At the age of 28, Branitzky is firmly established as one of the top innovators in her field in Israel.
A graduate of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, she earned her stripes with designer Diana Orving in Sweden. Upon returning to Tel Aviv, Branitzky opened her studio, which occupies a railroad-style apartment on Levontin Street.
Her work can be found in museum stores around the country, such as the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
In the two years since she set up shop in Tel Aviv, Branitzky has managed to accrue a fine list of collaborations.
Her textiles have been incorporated into designs that are sold at Comme Il Faut, Zohara and Bikaleh. Her 2011 collection, called Stained Journey, was displayed at Paris Fashion Week. Branitzky also teaches print design at the Guild Design School in Tel Aviv.
Incorporating handmade paintings, vintage lace, leaves, flowers and bits of 1940s cookbooks, each of Branitzky’s scarves comes with its own world of inspiration.
“My first collection was called Wearable Surfaces,” she explains over a small bowl of delicately wrapped chocolates. “The material undergoes a kind of chemical treatment.
Each scarf is a one-of-a-kind piece.”
This collection, which launched Branitzky’s local career, represents the more urban side of her taste. The rough and tough exterior of these pieces belies their physical feel, which is incredibly soft.
Wearable Surfaces is a perfect example of the type of chemical experimentation that tickles Branitzky’s fancy, so to speak. In her studio, scraps of treated materials can be found in neat piles on nearly every surface.
One of her most illustrious endeavors brought forth FAPA, a combination of paper and fabric, which Branitzky uses as a base for lampshades.
“Wearable Surfaces goes very well with my younger customers,” she says, though she does not like to make assumptions about age appropriateness. While the market for scarves is certainly thriving, Branitzky’s craft connects to a different time, when a woman’s silk scarves were among her most prized possessions.
“Often, grandmothers bring their granddaughters to my studio to look for scarves,” she divulges. “It’s amazing to see what attracts the different generations.
Grandmothers rarely go for black and white. They want something colorful, something bold. I like to dress women who really understand what they want. My ultimate model is a glamorous 80-year-old actress.”
Branitzky has just put the finishing touches on a new collection, called Flowered Journey. “A friend of mine gave me a bridal bouquet. I put it on the shelf. After a few days it started to completely wilt.
There was something really beautiful about the look of those wilted flowers. That was basically what set me off to make this collection,” she says.
The seeds of Flowered Journey can be found in a book of small paintings, which eventually became the basis for textile. At present, the little album of drawings is on display at Bayit Banamal in the Tel Aviv Port, while the scarves circulate through museum shops and designer boutiques around the country.
“I used a lot of three-dimensional materials for this collection. There were real flowers and leaves, most of which had wilted along the way. There is also a lot of text and lace in these scarves,” she says.
Once she was satisfied with her canvases, Branitzky used a digital fabric printer to recreate her images on silk. “Digital printing makes each and every pencil stroke stand out. The print is incredibly exact,” she explains.
While she aimed to create larger-thanlife images on her scarves, Branitzky remained conscious about the final destination of her pieces. “These are paintings that have to be close to faces. When I make them, I think a lot about how they will be in dialogue with a specific woman’s features. With each scarf, I really think about a specific face, a specific woman and a specific type of outfit that it will go with,” says the designer.
As for the future, Branitzky’s aim is to continue expanding in her field.
“I would love to collaborate with more local designers. I love Maya Negri and Mausner. There are so many applications for textile design. I would love to do furniture and build on the line of lampshades that I recently started. I’m so happy to be part of this field because of the huge amount of possibility within it,” she says.
“And I have so many more ideas. Right now, I have the beginnings of about 20 new collections in my mind.”
For more information on Tamar Branitzky, visit