TEL AVIV – This year’s Tel Aviv fashion week showcased local talent to international fashionistas even as a rash of deadly violence had Israel on edge.
Organizers say the event was a great success, both in terms of collections and attendance, despite the tensions.
Viktoria Kanar of GeekChicTLV, a fashion PR company that brought media to the event, said more than 1,200 people attended each separate show – eight a day over the past week.
Kanar said there was great interest in Israeli designs by foreign buyers for stores in the U.S. and Europe. She said the show this year was bigger than in the past – a sign that Israel’s small fashion industry is gaining popularity internationally. Even shows by young designers who are not very well known were fully booked, Kanar said.
This year’s show took place after the popular Business of Fashion website ranked Israel’s Shenkar College of Fashion Design department as the fifth most influential fashion school in the world. Kanar said spectators “especially loved” designs by students from the school.
The show came at a time of escalating tensions that began with clashes at a Jerusalem holy site last month and quickly spread across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. In all, 10 Israelis have been killed in a string of attacks, mostly stabbings. On the Palestinian side, 48 people have been killed by Israeli fire, 27 of them identified by Israel as attackers.
Security was tight at the Tel Aviv event. With guards posted around the clock, the measures were widely accepted as a necessity by visitors.
Shows included a mix of winter and summer collections, with many pieces dominated by flowery prints, while others exposed clean geometric lines, using leather fabrics suitable for European and American audiences.
Two of the more established designers, Dodo Bar Or and Yaron Minkovski, displayed evening dresses created out of traditional Arab headscarves.
Models from the young women’s wear brand Common Raven wore earrings shaped into an Islamic crescent moon combined with a Jewish Star of David and a Christian cross.
Another crowd favorite was ready-to wear fashion by Gadi Elimelech featuring a collection inspired by the world of insects. He used a microscope to study the natural beauty of butterflies and ladybugs and then interpreted their intricate designs on silk, chiffon and velvet fabrics.
Other designers included Israel’s veteran Maskit as well as Nouveau Riche Dig, Rimma Romano, Shani Zimmerman and others.
The plush interior of the space was in jarring contrast to the construction site outside where Gindi, the sponsor of the event, is building a mall with a focus on fashion.
Motty Reif, chief producer of Tel Aviv Fashion Week, is also the mall’s artistic director and said it will include space for young designers to sell their collections rent free.