Israel Launches Tel Aviv Fashion Week

In What's New, Industry News by Lauren Parker, Accessories Magazine

Designer Alon Livne, who won Israel's version of "Project Runway," incorporates jewelry into his designs

Tel Aviv–Pick up any newspaper and chances are the international headlines about Israel have precious little to do with fashion. A newly revived Tel Aviv Fashion Week aims to change all that.

Held November 21 to 23, and focusing on Spring 2012, Tel Aviv’s first Fashion Week in 30 years was the country’s chance to strut its stuff, show a new side of itself to the international media, and position its talented fashion and accessories designers as contenders on the international fashion stage.

The three-day event featured 18 designers, including Italian guest of honor Robert Cavalli who kicked off a collaboration between Milan and Tel Aviv. At a press conference, Ofir Lev, deputy ceo of the Israel Fashion and Textile Association and Mario Boselli, president of CFDA-like Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, signed an agreement that linked the two countries and puts Tel Aviv on the world fashion calendar. It also allows select Tel Aviv designers to show at Milan Fashion Week.

Even outside the tent, visitors and diners got a front-row seat to the shows.

The event was staged at the recently renovated Hatachana railway station, now a chic open-air shopping and dining plaza in the trendy Neve Tzedek neighborhood. Those without show tickets were able to view streaming video on the giant outdoor screen while sipping mint tea or eating one of the city’s culinary delights.

"Street Couture" lace at SugarDaddy

Dorit Bar Or blended Middle Eastern paillettes with 40s-inspired rosette hairpieces

Despite a need for more editing and a lot less black, overall the shows were a success–boosted by the enthusiasm of the friendly locals. There was abundant emerging talent too, from a student show from prestigious Shenkar College of Engineering and Design (which produced Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz) and an Upcoming Designer group show.

A Style All Their Own

Israelis pretty much march to their own fashion beat, foregoing current trends such as retro color-blocking or tropical floral prints and opting for a mostly neutral palette. Some designers–such as Israeli superstar actress-turned-fashion-designer Dorit Bar Or, or Tamar Primak for Ishtar–embraced their country’s Middle Eastern-ness with gold beading, belly dancer-esque paillettes, stacks of skinny gold bangles and bold headpieces.

Other designers opted for long sheer dresses and skirts, often with swinging “car wash” panels. Intricately worked leather and lace, white pearl beading, unique shoulder proportions and cut-out detailing were other signatures.

Sasson Kedem's pleated scarf

Accessorizing the Shows

The Ishtar brand is named for the Middle Eastern goddess of beauty and fertility

When it came to accessories, jewelry was definitely a headliner, and the designs were far removed from delicate Judaica jewelry gracing the galleries and jewelry shops in touristy areas.

Alon Livne, a recent winner of Israel’s version of “Project Runway,” accessorized his looks with with own dripping golden bib necklaces, often affixed to the dresses themselves. Having worked for Roberto Cavalli in Florence and training prior at Alexader McQueen’s house in London, he is definitely one to watch.

Leather petal shrug from Dorit Bar Or

At Sister M, swinging colored cords affixed to a woven collar necklace.

Sasson Kedem showed his signature bedouin chic draping and layering to interesting effect, with accessories like origami pleated scarves and a gigantic necklace evoking strung light bulbs.

Israel Ohayon,winner of the Upcoming Designer show

Gideon Oberson accessorized with architectural jewelry Noritamy, featuring angular cuffs, rings, necklaces, and earrings.

Sister M, which participated in the Upcoming Designer show, featured a rope knit collar with full-length colored strands layered over a dress.

Eveningwear and bridal designer Galit Levi went for lace veils and eye masks, not to mention the occasional fishnet mask.

Yaniv Persy (born in Israel, raised in South America, schooled in Paris), featured an aquatic theme with his clothing (mermaid skirts, scale-like sequins) and topped it off with black enamel fish pendants and necklace bibs.

Enamel fish necklaces at the Persy show accessorized the overt aquatic theme

Israel Ohayon, winner of Fashion Week’s first Emerging Talent award, showed a futuristic side with unique materials, while Mira Zwillinger showed ubiquitous sheer panels.

People Watching

Elinor Avni (right), wearing her Noritamy jewelry designs. Shown with sister.

Of course there was much more, including the requisite people-watching outside the tent. Click here to see how the locals mix it up.

Check back at to view the Tel Aviv addition under our international Runways link.

Lauren Parker is the Editor of Accessories Magazine.

Dramatic lace veil at the Galit Levi show.

Gold and white at the Yosef show


Sliced and flowy at Mira Zwillinger

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