If the Middle East had a fashion capital, it would be in Tel Aviv. Let’s just say—they’re working on it. A gang of international editors, myself included, took a trip to the holyland last week for Tel Aviv’s first ever fashion week hosted by Roberto Cavalli. It was the perfect opportunity to see fashion from a different perspective and to get to know what my kind refers to as the motherland. Be prepared to hear some Hebrew slang. Yala! That means…let’s go!
After a 10 hour flight, boker tov Tel Aviv! That means good morning and time for our first show. I had no idea what to expect from Middle Eastern fashion, but was surprised to find that the collections weren’t beach or swimwear-heavy at all. Bemet?! (That means: REALLY? NO WAY!) Many of the lines no doubt were inspired by the host of the hour, Roberto Cavalli—who confessed his deep connection with Israel—and the others looked unmistakeably derived from American contemporary styles. There’s no doubt that they have sourced a little inspiration from the Helmut Langs and Alexander Wangs of the world.
Perhaps the most unique designer to show was Sasson Kedem.
Sasson Kedem went to one year of design school, but has been designing for 20 years since and claims talent is innate. His silhouettes are similar to the likes of Comme des Garcons, but with obvious Mediterranean influences. He told me his favorite designers are “Issey Miyake and Yoji Yamamoto.” And if you’re in the market for Israeli must-haves, his spring collection is sold in the US at Rosebud on Thompson St in New York City. I’m getting a pair of the polka dot leggings.
Another standout was Alon Livine. While similar themes were present (sheer everything!), Alon’s looks felt a bit more creative. There was tiny short after tiny shor in the most beautiful silks and brocade fabrics.
Here’s where I really ay it out for you: Did the fashion look like it was from a strange land? I think so. Did it rival New York fashion week? No, not even close. But wow, these designers are clearly hard-working and love what they do. And the impressive new talent sure did deserve a showing. Will I be back next year? Yes, I promised I would come.
Other important lessons learned: Israeli’s love sheer skirts and dresses and black and white clothing (Roberto Cavalli, too, surprisingly claimed that out of all of his prints—black and white is his favorite). You’ll always know when an Israeli is pleased with a look because it’s followed by a roar of applause (in the US we wait until the end of each show).
And as always, some of the most inspiring looks you’ll see come straight from the crowd.
Lastly, never give your phone number to a persistent Israeli man named Avi.
That concludes my report from the wacky world of Tel Aviv…Fashion Week. Shalom! Hello, goodbye and of course, peace in the Middle East.
For more on middle eastern fashion: Follow @RaySiegel
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