4 reasons Israeli designers are so hot right now
Celebrities and everyday women are clamoring for the collections by these designers.
Alber Elbaz made waves in the fashion world earlier this spring when he announced he was leaving his post as artistic director of the venerable Parisian fashion house Lanvin. Elbaz spent the summer “between posts” traveling the globe and making fashion week appearances before recently announcing his next project: a new fragrance in collaboration with famed French perfumer Frederic Malle.
But Elbaz isn't the only Israeli designer making headlines lately. From celebrity weddings to show-stopping costumes, Israeli designers have garnered attention dressing everyone from Lady Gaga to Heidi Klum to Beyoncé. Here's why these designers are getting so much attention right now.
They’re bringing sexy back
According to New York bridal designer Mark Ingram, modern brides are taking a cue from the red carpet and favoring sexier gowns inspired by nearly nude styles recently worn by Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian and Victoria’s Secret model Isabeli Fontana. They're choosing low backs, deep necklines and sheer fabrics for their big day. “Bridal has become a red carpet moment, and the gowns reveal so much more,” Ingram told the New York Times.
A host of Israeli designers including Galia Lahav, Berta Balilti, Alon Livné, Mira Zwillinger and Inbal Dror are behind some of the most jaw-dropping looks of the moment. Dror, who trained with Roberto Cavalli, has created a series of bridal-themed costumes for Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour . Livné recently showed a beaded bodysuit and wide-open sheer skirt as part of his White collection during Bridal Fashion Week while virtually every look presented in Zwillinger’s 2017 collection is completely sheer.
Lahav and Balilti both maintain studios in Israel, but sell their haute couture and ready-to-wear designs in boutiques and department stores around the world. Lahav recently opened a new flagship store in Los Angeles. And Balilti, whose brand is known simply as Berta, dressed Olivia Jordan in two equally revealing gowns for her final appearance as Miss USA.
It's fashion for everyone
Designers Kedem Sasson and Dorin Frankfurt know that most women do not have the body types of the supermodels on the cover of Vogue, nor can they afford to dress like it. Frankfurt has been a popular designer in Israel since 1975, creating elegant, ready-to-wear pieces that everyday women can afford. She has 22 shops in Israel and has recently expanded to boutiques in Japan, New Zealand, Europe and the U.S.
Inspired by his full-figured wife, Sasson began designing clothes in the 1990s to create elegant, creative options for larger women. He favors copious amounts of fabric used in contrasting layers. “We want women to feel like women, feel good in our clothes. It is the Israeli way to make pieces that are warm, light and freeing,” he said. He designs collections for women and men, and is now available in a number of U.S. stores.
You can look good, and feel good
Celebrities and supermodels including Heidi Klum, Kendall Jenner, Selena Gomez and Jennifer Aniston have increasingly been spotted out and about wearing designs by Nili Lotan. Why? Because her luxurious, low-key designs in wear-everywhere colors like black, ivory, gray and navy are just so comfortable. Lotan, who moved from Tel Aviv to New York City in 1980, is a favorite with Manhattanites on the go.
“She always nails the perfect amount of slouch in a sweater or pant. One of her bestselling styles continues to be a silk georgette maxiskirt, a perfect piece that looks feminine and effortless, particularly when paired with a cozy sweater,” said Tomoko Ogura, senior fashion director at Barneys New York.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid is regularly spotted looking oh-so-chic in Nili Lotan and has called the designer her wardrobe's "secret weapon.” Lotan's minimalistic collections regularly include a trench coat or rain coat, a jacket, a beach dress and a loose-fitting sweater. Model Chrissy Teigen has recently been spotted showing a seductive amount of shoulder in an oversized Nili Lotan sweater à la Jennifer Beals circa "Flashdance."
It's fashion that intersects with technology
Noa Raviv, a 2014 graduate of the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, got her big break in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute's exhibit "Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology." In her graduate collection, Raviv featured pieces that she had created using a 3D printer. Two of Raviv's pieces, a slim black dress and pencil skirt with curving, sculptural 3D-printed grids, were included in the Met's exhibition alongside other 3D pieces from Chanel, Van Herpen and Noir Kei Ninomiya. Similar pieces from Raviv's Hard Copy collection were shown at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and featured in Condé Nast Traveler.
“I fell in love with 3D printing [in school] because it enabled me to do things I never imagined as a designer. There are so many shapes and possibilities you can use for ideas – not necessarily to 3D-print them, but to inspire your other work,” Raviv told Vogue. “For me, it’s about using those ideas in other ways, and mixing rich, traditional techniques with technology to create something new that refers to the past.”
Raviv's Spring 2017 collection features pieces inspired by her work with 3D printing, but most of the garments were cut and sewn by hand. Some pieces do include 3D elements made of what Raviv calls “crystal fabric” created through a collaboration with Swarovski.
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE: