On the heels of last season's Brazilian and Japanese Pavilions, ENK International will introduce an Israeli one at this installment of Fashion Coterie at the Show Piers here. The pavilion, located on Pier 88, is sponsored by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute.
The pavilion will house six designers. While most of them have made the rounds at trade shows in the U.S., this is the first time the brands will show as part of a group. "The benefit to doing a show together is to show what Israel can do and what special fashion is coming out of the country," said Hanna Kamionski, marketing director of consumer products for the Israeli Economic Mission, the sister organization to the IEICI.
"The fashion really is a mix of East and West. It's a blend of the modern with the ethnic," Kamionski said. Her office acts as the link between Israeli apparel manufacturers and the North American market.
Fern Penn has been hip to the Israeli fashion scene for years. In 2003, she opened Rosebud, an Israeli concept boutique in SoHo here. Penn was one of the first to carry not only Israeli fashion, but giftware, home and other merchandise manufactured and designed in Israel.
"The fashion scene in Israel is so amazing, and no one seems to know about it," said Penn, adding she makes a trip there every six weeks to update her merchandise. "They all represent a different market."
Retail prices at Rosebud range from $50 to $700. Penn carries four of the six designers showing at the Israeli Pavilion. "These designers only represent a tip of the iceberg as to the Israeli designers out there," she said.
Kamionski said Israeli designers, in general, are highly influenced by other parts of the world. "Israeli designers seem to offer something that the American consumers like," she noted.
Here, a look at the six designers featured in the Israeli Pavilion.
Bracha Baron For more than 20 years, Bracha Baron has been outfitting the women of Israel. Baron's reputation for creating flattering and great-fitting pants eventually spread, and soon women in cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago were snatching up her designs at nearby specialty boutiques. Currently, the Bracha Baron collection is available at more than 40 boutiques in Israel. Baron does all her work out of her studio in Neve-Tzedeck and has a freestanding store in Tel Aviv.Sigal Dekel Sigal Dekel is a graduate of the Shenkar School of Design in Israel. "It's comparable to the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design — combined," Penn said. Dekel was feted by Israel's fashion elite and awarded, by leaders in the fashion industry, the Promising Designer award in 2000. Dekel launched her collection in 1999 and has been showing her wares at Coterie for four years. "Her clothes feature a lot of detailing and are perfect for daywear," Penn said. Sigal Dekel is manufactured in Israel and sold in specialty boutiques in Israel, the U.S. and the Netherlands.
Reuma Reuma Sachs has been designing her contemporary misses' line, Reuma, for 14 years. "Reuma picks up the trends in a way that she understands," Penn said. "It works from day to evening." Catering to a more sophisticated customer, Reuma's designs are detail-oriented and frequently feature beadwork, flowers and embroidery, giving the jackets, tops, dresses and skirts a romantic feel. "It's made to make a woman feel good," said Shiraz Sachs, the designer's daughter. There are currently five Reuma boutiques in Israel, and the collection is available at more than 400 boutiques and high-end department stores in the U.S.
Kedem Sasson To say Sasson's designs are a labor of love is an understatement. Ten years ago, he launched the line in response to the lack of fashionable clothes available in larger sizes to fit his wife. His clothing, which started out as a line of plus sizes, has evolved to all fits for all women. As an artist who specialized in sculpture, his designers take on an architectural form. "Kedem is brilliant," Rosebud's Penn said. His collection is available at his three freestanding boutiques in Israel as well as in the U.S., Germany, Australia and Asia.
Ella Gonen Ella Gonen also is a graduate of the Shenkar School. Her eponymous contemporary collection is easily identifiable by her trend-driven, fun, flirty designs with intermittent bursts of vibrant color in shades such as lime, orange and pink. In addition to the Ella Gonen boutique in Tel Aviv, the collection is available at more than 30 stores in Israel and more than 150 boutiques in the U.S.Katomenta Katomenta, a combination of the words "orange" and "mint" in Hebrew, was the brainchild of Haya Nir in the mid-Eighties. The collection of draped tops, dresses and skirts appeals to a fun, hip consumer who's not afraid of color and inspired by current trends. "She makes great, sexy dresses," Penn said. Katomenta opened shop in Tel Aviv in 2001.
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