October 01, 2011 Paris
The label's South African founder, Paul Van Zyl, a human rights lawyer with global connections, and company president Kristy Caylor spent six months sourcing craftsmen in Colombia, South Africa, Kenya, Indonesia, and India in advance of the label's first collection. Clearly Van Zyl and Caylor mean business, as evidenced by the bold statement of Maiyet's Paris fashion week debut. The clothes they showed, along with a pretty extensive line of shoes, jewelry, and chic utilitarian bags, are quite sophisticated in the way they embrace simplicity. "The overall approach is to keep it clean so that the embroidery and the craftsmanship play a key role," explained Caylor. She and her design team like the subtlety of a sharp tailored blazer in a white tonal jacquard woven in Varanasi, or something like the tiny block-printed floral from Jaipur peeking out from the lining on a silk cotton tunic dress. It's a subtle point of view in the vein of Dosa or old Dries Van Noten. At any rate, it already has its fans. Top on the list is Barneys New York, which secured an exclusive for spring.