Report on Tel Aviv Fashion Week Revived
March 2014 saw the return of Fashion Week to Tel Aviv, the heart of fashion and culture in Israel. Unlike major fashion capitals of the world where multiple fashion weeks take place every year, Tel Aviv holds one fashion week annually. The fashion scene here is only coming into its own.
Israel had a strong fashion industry in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, and was famous for producing fashion houses such as Gottex and Maskit. This golden era ended 30 years ago and Tel Aviv’s annual fashion week stopped. Alas, trends change and the sartorial scene took a back seat while technology took over the country’s innovative forefront. That is until 2011, when the first revival fashion week strutted its style. Since then, Tel Aviv has proudly presented Israel’s fashion week. This year 2014, marked only the third year of restoring “runway” back to the Promised Land.
Twenty one runway shows over the course of 3 days showcased new and established Israeli designers. Among this generous program, two shows featured the more innovative side of Israeli fashion: Upcoming Designers and the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design graduates show (Shenkar is one of the top two design schools in Israel, the other being Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem).
The Upcoming Designers show and competition saw 10 young designers present their collections and compete for the title of “Israel’s next designer“, a scholarship and the opportunity to sell their collection online on www.adikastyle.com. The judging panel included some prestigious fashion personalities: Ilaria Norsa fashion editor of Grazia Italy, Teresa Missoni of the Missoni family and fashion house, Valentina Bianchi president of a leading PR firm in Milan, Marcelo Burlon an international fashion designer and DJ, premier Israeli designer Shoshana Benzur, and Adi Ronen founder of fashion website Adika.
The winner of Upcoming Designers was RIMMAROMANO. The show began as boldly as the designs proved to be: a model half wearing a long white, abstract coat sombrely walked part of the runway, then abruptly stopped and crouched for the rest of the presentation, while models wearing the almost all black, stark collection, stomped around her. The designs featured modular layers, playing with lengths (such as overly long sleeves) and off kilter details; it was innovative yet wearable, while maintaining a clean minimalism.
Other designers who showed included designer Nastya Linsk of NASTYA who presented a strong collection of clean black and white pieces with intriguing “LOVE” prints and stamps. Liron Itzhakov showed a beautiful collection for spring in billowing, flowery pastels contrasting with strong shapes and structure created by rough leather manipulations. Other labels and designers to show included <Michman> Efrat Michman, SISTER M, NOUVEAU RICHE DOG, Shani Zimmerman & model turned fashion designer Natalie Daddon’s B-nuty by Arketa. Rish by Yoav Rish and Shir Dor included interesting lines of evening wear.
The Shenkar show featured experimental and avant-garde designs from the graduating class of its fashion design program. The show hosted a wide range of design approaches, each student presenting his or her specific point of view, creating a rich mosaic of contemporary urban experience. Interesting manipulations, prints, and washes were applied to a broad range of materials including cotton, denim, knitwear, and silk in an attempt to create a unique and colourful presentation intended to emulate the look asphalt in the blinding summer heat of Tel Aviv. With a lack of homegrown talent in men’s fashion it was exciting to see male and female designs equally represented amongst the graduates collections.
The unifying theme of the show was “Dr. Martens” boots, chosen for their symbolism of youthful rebellion of the 80s. Another interesting styling touch was the Speedo caps worn by all the models, which gave the proceedings an androgynous feel.
Focus on cutting edge designs instead of commercial clothing made the show truly fascinating to watch. Check the graduate work below:
All photography by Yuval Tebol