Meet Maayan Zilberman
Maayan got into fashion after a formative trip to a textile factory in Fondazione Ratti, Italy. She went on to co-found the lingerie brand the Lake & Stars. Initially a hobby, she now runs her own luxury candy sculpture company, Sweet Saba which has been exhibited everywhere from ArtBasel to the MET Gala.
ON HER MORNING ROUTINE
Up until a few months ago I always did a drawing session every morning, I have a page on my site with some of my favorites. Now, my morning routine sways in the direction of nursing my baby and soaking up every minute of her fast paced baby life.
on her background and path to design
I was born in Israel, on a Kibbutz named Deganiah Alef. I grew up for the most part in Vancouver, Canada and moved to NYC when I was 15 to go to art school at Alfred University (ceramic arts major), San Francisco Art Institute (New Genres) and the School of Visual Arts where I studied sculpture.
I did an artist residency/fellowship at Fondazione Ratti in Como, Italy. I was the youngest artist in the group and it wasn’t obvious to me till I was there that I was totally unprepared for the experience and that it was for established artists... I was only 19. I was fascinated by the dye and print processes on one of our weekend trips to the Ratti family silk factory and from there I took an interest in fashion and textiles. When I got back to New York, by chance I met 2 women who were financing a fashion label and asked if I could recommend any designers, I said “me.” So I winged it.
on founding a lingerie brand
The first brand I worked on, Zoe, had disbanded and I had been consulting for a few other lingerie brands, but wasn’t really finding my footing and missed designing outside the box. I met my business partner and we talked about designing a collection to bridge the gap between sporty and boudoir lingerie. Over the course of six months we developed the brand and launched with a runway show and a printed lookbook (those were the days). We sent a copy to Vogue and Sally Singer asked us to come in— that day they gave us a full page feature in print (wasn’t online yet) which pretty much secured retail accounts and a next collection. Those were the days when literally pounding the pavement paid off.
on her unexpected transition to candy making
I was making small sculptures as a means of self expression because I really missed making things with my hands. Turning it into a commercial endeavor only came about 6 months in, when I was given the opportunity to make it an installation with items for sale. I wasn’t sure it was something I wanted to do for long, I just knew it was something I enjoyed that put smiles on peoples faces, and at the time it was all that was important to me. The fashion world can do that to you.
With the exception of lingerie requiring a long development and production timeline, I don’t see much of a difference between creating one or the other. I approach all the creative projects I take on with a similar goal. I like to take materials or categories with strict guidelines and flip them upside down— to try to stretch them out and make them do stuff they’re not supposed to do. I’m drawn to feminine and stereotyped markets like candy and lingerie and challenge that aspect of each and propose a new way of looking at a product or material.
on her style
My style is vibrant and funny, but put together and thoughtful. I have worn the same silhouette for 30 years, but since having a baby I’ve had to shift the focus away from my tiny waist. I get style inspiration from old photos, my girlfriends, and some of my crushes on instagram like @balletrusse or @conievalles. I don’t read magazines anymore, but I do love my Vogue Italia and WSJ for the photos. I still feel high from a trip to Tokyo 6 years ago where I collected a ton of magazines I still refer to.
I blow my $$ at sample sales with my friends who are designers a few times a year. Back home in Vancouver I have a woman who collects vintage and she does private sales for me every 5 years or so. I have ebay or etsy searches that garner pretty special items for me over the years. I love hand me downs, and love trading clothes with friends and family. I truly believe that good vibes (and conversely, bad ones) are passed down through clothes.
on her beauty routine
In the morning I wash my face with a Three Japanese cotton towel, tone with Belif Bergamot Herbal Extract Toner (or Dr. Hauschka Facial Toner), apply Dr. Barbara Sturm eye cream, MALIN+GOETZ Replenishing Face Serum and Platinum Cream from La Prairie. I also use Belif’s facial scrub and La Prairie’s Skin Caviar.
I wear minimal makeup, Chanel Concealer, Sephora eyeliner, and Elizabeth Arden Mascara. I’ve had mostly the same stuff for decades, my mom buys it, hates it, then passes it down to me. I collect all types of red lipstick, but I only wear stains nowadays cause they get all over my baby if not. I kiss her non stop. For perfume I wear Gucci Bloom for dinners out and Killian perfume for daytime.
With my thick and curly Jewish hair, I have to move with the weather and seasons. Fall and winter I keep it sleek and straight and wash with Oribe’s Gold Lust Repair & Restore Conditioner (best conditioner on the market, I also love their Shampoo For Moisture & Control), style with Kerastase Pomade and R+Co Continental Glossing Wax. As soon as it’s hot out, I succumb to “Island Hair Season” where I air-dry curly and let it go wild with just pure coconut oil and a bit of cheap gel. Lots of tight high ponys for hot summer nights too.
on her favorite books, publications and podcasts
I love Tasty Reggae by Kenya Hanley, his artwork really speaks to my heart, How To Do It: The Lively Art of Entertaining by Elsa Maxwell and The Art of Star Trek by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. I subscribe to some trade publications like Manufacturing Confectioner and Ive been reading Nat Geo since I was a kid. When Im alone in my studio I listen to all the episodes of Savage Love... I love Dan’s unbiased advice. Also listen to Oprah’s Super Soul, Touré, and Unstyled by Christene Barberich. I love a pour your heart out podcast, gives me the space to get emotional when most other times of the day I have to keep my shit together.
maayan’s favorite places in nyc
Maison Kayser for delicious pastries and blasting AC.
The Museum of Art & Design, the New York Transit Museum and Cooper Hewitt for museums (I love going to galleries during the summer time cause its less crowded and you’ll often find artists you didn’t know or hear about much.)
Sera Sloane for hair
Brrch Floral for flowers
Salter House for tea dates
maayan’s favorite films
The Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille
Muppets Take Manhattan by Frank Oz
Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold
Awakenings by Penny Marhsall
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Tim Burton
Kramer vs Kramer by Robert Benton
American Psycho by Mary Herron
Desperately Seeking Susan by Susan Seidelman