polyester coat - Amit Israeli - 02112011
A polyester coat. Photo by Amit Israeli
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"Starting from this year, we decided to split the brand's collections into four, so that the order of their appearance in the shops is better matched to the weather in Israel," said Ira Goldman, 36, one of the designers at comme il faut. "This is meant to enable our clients to buy clothes suited to the local season, not the one defined by the international fashion industry."

The idea arose in the wake of the economic crisis. "We found that women today are not interested in delaying gratification," Goldman explained. "For example, they don't want to buy a jacket in October that they will put on at the beginning of November. They want to buy items for the immediate moment."

The collections designed by Goldman and Efrat Ziv, 33, are numbered sequentially: Collection No. 1, for spring, was launched last March. Collection No. 2, intended for summer, was on the shelves from June until the end of September. Collection No. 3, which is now being launched, is suited to the fall; it went into the shops in October and will be sold until the end of November. Collection No. 4, the winter collection, will be displayed in the brand's shops from December until the end of February.

The brand's fall wardrobe is "a journey into an enchanted forest of fairy tales and legends," according to Goldman. A long, narrow, washed silk black dress that widens a bit toward the bottom made this immediately clear: A broad hood on its back and wide cuffs at the ends of its long sleeves brought to mind a medieval robe.

Despite the explicit and overly familiar dramatic element, the refined formulation of its cut endowed it with contemporary elegance. The tension between the forces of darkness and mystery, on one hand, and the innocence and goodness at the basis of every fairy tale, on the other, served the design duo as the basis for the contrasts they created between the emphatic shapes of the garments' silhouettes and the light fabrics from which they have been cut, and between soft, lightweight fabrics like silk, viscose and Tencel and the crispness of sturdy polyester fabrics and fleshy lace.

The intimate fashion show they held last week also highlighted this contrast by combining tops of a dramatic volume with narrow, flowing bottoms. "We thought about lightweight cloth like silk and viscose fabrics that are suitable to the transitional season," Goldman explained.

Impressive silhouettes

In this spirit, a tailored, unlined, black jersey coat looked closer in spirit to a cardigan, while a long, narrow black jacket with sharp shoulders and lapels was also cut from light, elastic black jersey and similarly had no lining. Yet the silhouette it creates is heavy and wintry. A kind of winter's tale - as if the clothes were not really meant for winter, but only to look that way.

Among the coats that were shown, only one was cut from wool. Another was of flame red leather.

Dresses were given boyish proportions. The sleeves of a knee-length moss green dress rested droopily on the shoulders and twisted a bit at the elbows. Under the round neckline, waves of fabric flowed in a kind of disorderly multilevel structure. On a knee-length navy blue viscose dress, its round neckline adorned with a ribbon tie, a print of tiny yellow butterflies fluttered.

Other motifs borrowed from the world of fairy tales were leopard spot prints, leaves and bows. The coloration was drawn from an enchanted forest: alongside muddy tones of green, brown, blue and black were flashes of yellow and green. In these, too, a certain tension was evident: The green, for example, ran from the freshness of fir to the muddiness of olive, while the yellow flowed in the same way from turmeric to lemon.

Matching sets of shirts and trousers looked like naive suggestions for daytime outfits - naive, but not lacking in elegance. One of them consisted of a green silk shirt (which can be worn with or without a ribbon tied under the neck; the ribbon adds a romantic touch ) and green silk trousers narrowed at the ankle. Another consisted of a long, buttoned shirt with sleeves twisted at the elbows and a ribbon tied loosely below the neck together with ankle-length darted trousers; both shirt and pants were blue adorned with yellow butterflies.

Another suggestion came in the form of a tight, tailored overall of fine, soft black jersey. The cut includes a notched lapel like a jacket, a round button closure under it and very wide trouser legs. The use of elastic jersey enables a relaxed look and suits a wide variety of body types.

The flowing lines and casual sophistication of these suggested outfits created an impressive silhouette. So did a black shirt combining the glitter of sequins and the seductive transparency of the chiffon fabric down its sides. Its wide cut included a boat neck and elbow-length sleeves.

But dresses that tried to incorporate excessive evening glamour were less successful - like the black, knee-length tunic dress cut like an inverted trapeze that had inserts of strips of lace embroidered with small beads. Goldman said the use of beads and lace was intended to add a bit of magic to the collection, but the result was the opposite.

The same was true of a soft black dress of knitted viscose designed in collaboration with textile designer Meital Tsabari, a graduate of the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. Hand embroideries of wool and Lurex did look like magical runes, but to the same extent, they also looked like too much fuss and bother over nothing - the exact opposite of magic.

Price range: trousers, NIS 790-1,290; shirts, NIS 220-1,390; cardigans, NIS 590-890; jackets, NIS 1,100-3,200; skirts and dresses, NIS 890-2,200. A list of shops can be found on the site http://www.comme-il-faut.com