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THE UNLIMITED Magazine is a theme-based iPad quarterly that examines contemporary culture through a techie lens. Designed with features that encourage readers to swipe, push, tilt, listen, watch, and participate in,The UNLIMITED is a complete interactive media source. We bring forward the latest revolutionary inventions from across the globe, as well as the brilliant people behind them. We provide the platform for you to create your own individualized reading/viewing experience. 

Each issue of THE UNLIMITED comes with a carefully chosen topic, which we make sure to dissect to pieces. From wearable tech and cutting-edge artists, to unusual cultural events, and novelties in the music field, THE UNLIMITED is an internationally available format that is innovative in nature and timeless in essence.

issue_5_liquidsky

Liquid Sky

Alon Livné - The New Futuristic

For Alon Livné, a former intern for the late Alexander McQueen who went on to assist Roberto Cavalli before claiming the first prize in Israel’s own version of Project Runway, fashion design has never been about dressing “confident fashionistas”. When I ask the Tel Aviv-native, who debuted his show-stopping gowns at New York fashion week during February’s fall 2013 collections, what kind of woman he designs for, he responds thoughtfully with both the grace of a newcomer and confidence of a seasoned designer, who has so far produced eight collections for his namesake label based in his home country.  “The right thing to say is that my woman is strong, confidant, sexy - an Amazona; but that’s the same woman for Versace, McQueen, Givenchy,” the 28-year-old explains in a slight Israeli accent. “But for me, my woman must be intelligent - to understand the vision and the aesthetic. She could be a very shy girl who only wears the dresses in her dreams, or she could be a big fashonista that wants to be pictured everywhere. But no matter, she must understand that she is wearing something with a lot of thought around it. What I’m making is art, sculptures.” 

For a bourgeoning master of all things “technique”, where complex pattern-making and detailed embroidery create sculptural, three-dimensional swirls that curl up from the necks of his dresses, Livné has already found a loyal following of women who collect his gowns like art. Still, nothing could have prepared him for the moment that Beyonce recently “happened”.  Gearing up for her Mrs Carter world tour, the music icon initially took a dress from Livné’s fall collection for a seven-minute video that plays during a tricky costume change - but she quickly came back for more. “She really liked it, so her stylist came to see my new collection, and asked me if I would make something especially for her to wear on tour,” Livné recalled almost breathlessly. “So I sent over some sketches; she asked me for one dress, then the day after she asked for two more for her dancers, and I made it of course. Then she said, ‘No I want the whole stage to be with your dresses,’ so I ended up making 15.” He describes meeting her, just two weeks after having arrived in New York for fashion week, as “amazing”. “I had to fit the dresses on her; it was crazy, crazy, crazy.”

This repetition of ‘crazy’ has become an almost catch phrase for Leviné, one that he usually tacks on to the end of anecdotes he finds particularly overwhelming or awe-inspiring. During our hour-long conversation at Midtown’s Out Hotel - where he and his husband Gil, who is also Leviné’s business partner, stay during most New York visits - if a topic wasn’t “crazy, crazy, crazy,” it generally wasn’t worth talking about.  Fashion Week in Israel? “Crazy, crazy, crazy, like you can’t imagine”.  Finding inspiration for a new collection? “I always start with crazy, crazy, crazy sketches.” Working alongside the late Alexander McQueen and Sarah Burton fresh out of design school? “It was very inspiring, the materials, the shapes, the spirit inside the studio; it was one of my best experiences in fashion. A crazy, crazy, crazy experience.” 

During his six-month internship with McQueen, the first time the designer had ever left Israel, Leviné discovered his affinity for complicated pattern-making and exotic fabrics - something that stands out in his own sculptural and almost theatrical designs. “It was the first time I’d seen such amazing materials used, like flamingo wings,” he recalls. “I said, ‘Oh my god, what is that? It’s pink! ‘And [Burton] said, ‘Yes, they’re flamingo feathers.’ There were also eagle wings. I was shocked! I think it’s probably illegal,” he laughs, before adding, “but it was also very inspiring.” Often working 12- to 16-hour days, Leviné quickly learned the importance of patience and flexibility in the workroom, as well as the infinite possibilities of unfettered craftsmanship - he scoffs at fashion designers who don’t how to create what they conceive. “I don’t believe in fashion designers that don’t know how to sketch, don’t know how to sew,” he said. “Even if you’re not doing these things, you must know how to do it. Otherwise how can you tell your seamstresses how to do it?” His point, he said, was proven when an assistant declared one specific leather technique “impossible”. “’I can’t,’ she’d say. I turned to her and said, ‘what do you mean you can’t? It will take you hours, but you can.’ And then I showed her exactly how to do it.”

Leviné’s collections are all sewn in- house, each gown demanding about three-days work; the kind of elaborate artistry usually reserved for couture.  When I ask him why he chose New York as his next step, instead of another fashion capital more attune to such attention-to-detail, like Milan or Paris, he is unafraid to touch on a very real conundrum facing in the fashion industry right now. “The most amazing fashion came from Europe,” he states almost diplomatically. “But for me, New York is the right place to be now. You have a lot more opportunities here as a young designer. In Europe, they are not that open to young designers - you have the big brands like Gucci and Prada, but if you’re a young designer who wants to start something, it’s a little bit harder.” 

Brining dynamism and romanticism back to ready-to-wear, Leviné’s designs are undoubtedly “more modern art than just clothes,” as he describes his more avant-garde leanings. But for those passing him off as just another red-carpet designer (Nina Garcia and Lea Michele are both fans), Leviné has other, perhaps more financially viable, plans. “I translate each collection into more commercial and wearable things. You know, I must sell,” he laughs. “I’m a fashion designer, this is still a business.” Currently working on his spring 2014 collection, to be shown this September during fashion week, Leviné reveals that his inspiration lies squarely in the future. “I always look at the future. My inspirations are always futuristic, in a way. It could be a dark future, it could be how we saw the future in the 80’s, or it could be clean,” he says. “I’m trying to invent, I’m trying to do new things for me and for other people.” 

But even the designer, who sometimes struggles to describe his own inventive techniques, can get ahead of himself.  “It’s like a sculpture,” he says while searching for help to name the unidentified sewing method. “I definitely want to continue this technique.”  While Leviné’s last collection was inspired by a “crazy, crazy, crazy” book that describes a deceased person’s metamorphose into black crystal, the designer assures me that this collection is going to be “a little bit brighter, happier.” He has no intention of dropping the eveningwear’s dramatic and powerful aesthetic, however. “My last collection was the storm, destruction. This collection is after the war, you can see the sun shining, the birds. But still, done in my own, signature way.”