BEIRUT: Leather midi skirts and gothic florals are well and good on the runway. But winter style in the comfort of the home – or uncomfort as the case may be – often consists of knee-high wool socks, four sweatshirts and, a personal favorite, the flannel-blanket shawl. So it is with brazen pragmatism that Mira Hayek put out a winter collection inspired by the pajamas and sweatpants we are all aching to put on this time of year. The difference is that her creations are chic without dipping over the edge into loungewear and – thank God – there’s no velour.
“Stepping out of the home is something she needs to do but she doesn’t want to,” Hayek told The Daily Star, explaining the wearer she had in mind. “My customer is a very active person, so she’s trying to be positive about it.”
“It” being the frigid rain and cold.
The collection, entitled “Yawn,” is all tongue-and-cheek. The “Pillow Sweater,” for example, is a loose white top with voluminous sleeves. She named a pair of athletic sherwal “B&B pants,” appropriate for breakfasting in bed or daring to leave the house.
Hayek tends toward the literal with her inspiration. Her last collection, for spring-summer 2013, drew from 1950 cheerleading uniforms. The collection incorporated pleats and color pairings so authentically collegiate they could have been commissioned by a trendy prep school.
She attributes her literal spin on themes to her graphic design background, which gives her clothes a colorful, almost cartoony, playfulness.
Yawn was less literal. After all, she did not cut up acrylic mink throws, which might have been genius. She did, however, include weather themes, like an asymmetrical “Cloudy maxi skirt” edged with semi-circles. And she exaggerated the puffy sleeves on a mock-neck “Cloudy Jacket.”
“It’s important to have a strong concept,” Hayek said. “I like to create a story. It helps me get more into the details.”
Material of course is one of those essential details for a collection riding on comfort. Hayek chose a woollike material, with a softness she compared to being in bed, and a silky fabric for a few shirts and pajamalike shorts. The outerwear – which includes a hooded tricolor jacket – is made from waterproof neoprene that blurs the line between indoors and out.
The color palette mostly remained faithful to the muted colors of winter – and basic bedding – like khaki greys, black and white. But tempted by the bright colors that usually comprise her collections, Hayek slipped in rainbow trim or sleeves to contrast the winter drab of a few pieces.
The inherent sportiness of Hayek’s work has attracted a male following pestering her to put out menswear, she said. Indeed, pieces from Yawn and her summer collection have an androgynous urban look.
“A lot of my stuff has this tomboy feel,” she said. But for now, her priority is getting collections out on schedule – December is admittedly late, she said. She’s also about expanding her client base, which she said had surprised her in its diversity.
“I had a specific client in mind. But I was really surprised at the quirky side to them. ... I’ve had teenagers and 40-year-olds,” Hayek said. “They’re all up to wearing something different.”