A Perfect Match

Fashion designers and their loyal customers explain what they see in each other

Woman with presence

Maya Negri

"I like women with something different about them, and Dafna is exciting, adventurous, individualist. She inspires, she's bold, she has presence. In general, the Israeli woman is brave. People always say that Israeli women are the most beautiful, that they're different. I think it comes from inside, from what we have to deal with in life. Israeli women are tougher, they have the guts to look inside, deep inside, and they're not afraid to look at themselves. The Israeli woman is also intriguing, interesting. She's a mother, she serves in the army, she's like this and like that. When I thought about this woman, Dafna immediately came to mind.

"I design for my client, and to create clothing that suits her like a second skin is a challenge for me, not a compromise. My job is to give her the most fashionable, contemporary, stylish look, but always to suit her body. Most of my work is getting the clothing to suit the Israeli body. Its characteristics give me inspiration, and that's part of the design process, to bring the best out of the client. When a woman walks out of here and feels good about herself, then I've done my job."

Dafna Rechter

41, actress

"I actually like to walk around the neighborhood barefoot, to wear jeans, sweatpants and cowboy boots. Maya's clothes are the simplest, but they look like a million bucks. Her fabrics are soft and feel nice, you just throw the clothes on, and they look great. Everything I wear looks like it's sewn perfectly for me. These clothes can be completely casual, but you could also wear them to the most glamorous event. For example, with just a small change, a black dress can go from an everyday dress, the kind you wear with rubber flip-flops or cowboy boots, to an evening dress - just by adding a little jewelry and high heels."

Smart young women

Dorin Frankfurt

"One of the things I love in this country are the young women, who are so smart and ready for anything. There's something optimistic about this generation that gives you the feeling that the future will be brighter. That's what I see in Anu. I see the future in her. My first instinct was to choose a client who's well-known and glamorous, and a lot of names came to mind. But on second thought, I chose to connect to my audience.

"My client is a surprising woman who connected with my work in a way that has nothing to do with public relations, but due to her own needs. She lives in this surreal place, in a very unique microcosm. On the one hand, she lives a modern urban life, flitting from cafes to the beach and spending nights out. On the other hand, she has a highly developed cultural life like in Europe, alongside all the political upheavals and wars like in the Middle Ages. In recent years, Israeli women have been exposed more to the world, they're more aware, more open, and their possibilities are nearly endless, and my clientele has come to include more young women like Anu, connected to innovations, to clothes that slide from day into evening."

Anu Deuel-Lusky

24, law student

"Dorin's clothes create continuity on two levels. The first is continuity of generations: My grandmother wears Dorin Frankfurt, my mother wears clothes she designed, and now I do, too. My grandmother loves color, the more flowers and color the better; my mother prefers only black; and I like to mix things. And each one of us finds what she wants.

"The second dimension is that the clothes suit the changes in life, the changes of the body and soul. I grew up with the clothes, and they grew up with me. This is their strongest aspect, and it's very easy: When I'm feeling good about myself and my body, they give me strength and I feel like I'm sparkling. When I'm not feeling so good, the easiest solution is to pull a Dorin blouse out of the closet, and it gives me a feeling of strength and confidence. Her clothes just let women burst out."

Going for dreams

Claudette Zorea

"Daniela is young, free, natural, spontaneous. She has this innocence combined with mischievousness. She goes for her desires and her dreams, and I see in her the great melting pot that we have here, so charged and energetic.

"I see the Israeli woman as I see the young State of Israel. The Israeli woman is natural and creative, she is grounded and aware of her surroundings, her femininity is not calculated yet very sexual. It's not easy to be a woman in Israel. She's a woman and a man and also a mother in the midst of war, and all this sometimes makes her act for survival and out of a sense of struggle. It's a combination that gives rise to unique behavior. Compared to all the strict rules pertaining to the behavior of European women, Israeli women are independent and free-thinking; they express their femininity naturally, freely. To someone like me who came from Europe, it's very striking.

"The encounter between the designer and the client is a matter of communication and mutual listening. In the end, you understand one another and succeed in achieving an outstanding look. I have no rules as to what's beautiful and what's not, what's good and what's bad. I try to create an identity, and who am I to comment on a person's identity? Clothing is a form of communication, and it depends on what a person wants to express and say with his appearance. There are no rules, and I respect everyone's individual taste."

Daniela Pik

23, singer

"I don't believe in rules; I go with the body. I like jeans and T-shirts, not clothes that are complicated and uncomfortable. The quality of the fabric is important to me, but it could be something I found in a store I've never heard of before, or something from a designer.

"Claudette is the only designer whose clothes I can just wear. Whatever she gives me I can put on and go out in, without even looking in the mirror. I trust her. She's unique. She has an unorthodox outlook on life, and it's expressed in her clothes. Her perception of clothes is an art, just like music. Claudette is always looking to do something new; she's very inquisitive and never takes the easy way out. She's always striving to be one step ahead of herself. She understands the female body, her fabrics are pleasant and soft, and make you feel sexy, feminine. In her clothes, I feel like I'm floating."

Something mischievous and nice

Yossi Katzav

(Fox Men)

"Erez is young, like Fox's audience. He has the right look, and there's something mischievous and nice about it. In the last few years, men here have understood that 'fashionable' isn't a dirty word. That it's okay to dress up and look good. The Israeli man today is different from what he was 10 years ago. He's rough but sensitive, he's nervy but has broader horizons, has a more open worldview and is more knowledgable, because we're more exposed to media. I like the fact that Israeli men don't go for too much color, that they like khaki, gray, white and blue. I like this monochrome look.

"I'm after a sporty clientele that dresses casually. I'm not trying to turn the Israeli man into an Italian, dressed in a suit and buttoned shirt. The climate may be similar, but the culture is not. We're more relaxed, with our jeans, cotton top, T-shirt or polo, and I'm not trying to change that. On the contrary, I especially like men who combine the different worlds, who wear a blazer with jeans, for example, or Bermuda shorts with a buttoned shirt and flip-flops."

Erez Bader,

24, bartender

"I like the roughness in Fox Men clothes. Each piece of clothing has its own direction, and it takes it all the way. It's never boring. I have a problem finding pants that suit me, and I can find them here. They look good, and I'm not embarrassed to leave the dressing room."

Bringing herself to the clothes

Sasson Kedem

"My client is aware, open, can relate to herself, understand her personal needs, hold a dialogue between the clothes and physicality. It comes with the years, this maturity, not in youth. She is all for comfort and freedom, but she is thoughtful and not afraid to say something without words. As a designer, I don't always have to go to the extreme in order to look special and different. One can be minimalist and different. Part of designing is knowing when to stop, and my clothes stop and let the body do the talking, too.

"Bati is all woman. Her behavior, her originality - she brings herself to the clothes. The clothes aren't enough in themselves - I think you have to bring your personality to them, too, and the symbiosis between Bati and my clothes is so perfect that it seems like she designed them for herself."

Bati Stipman

61, head nurse for emergency care at Hasharon Hospital

"Sasson makes all my dreams come true. Sometimes I feel the man dreams about me at night and makes everything just for me. I love to sew, and I'm crazy about fashion, but ever since I met Sasson Kedem I haven't picked up a needle and thread, because I find everything with him. Going to him is my therapy from work. Some people spend money on a psychologist; I spend it on his clothes. He has clothes that can easily go from day to evening wear, just by adding one accessory. His clothes are comfortable, you don't have to iron them or worry that they'll get wrinkled, and they also suit women of every size.

"For four years I've worn nothing but Sasson Kedem. I don't buy anything from anyone else. I don't need to do anything - I always look good and I always feel comfortable."