Israeli 80's Supermodel Michaela Bercu Defies Age

Bercu, 46, goes from Vogue covers to Israeli fashion chain for curvy women; too bad the Onot collection this spring is so-so.

Shachar Atwan
Shachar Atwan
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Shachar Atwan
Shachar Atwan

In 1988, Israeli fashion model Michaela Bercu graced the cover of the American edition of Vogue. Back then, Israeli fashion retailer Onot was nearly a decade into the business of making clothes for curvaceous women.

There could hardly have been a greater contrast. Bercu was just 18 and at a peak in her international modeling career. The name Onot, meanwhile, conjured up an unflattering image of “floral tents,” a phrase used back then. The notion was that women who didn’t look like Bercu should be covered in loose frocks with floral prints.

A generation later things have changed. Fashion for full-figured women is a lot more sophisticated, and now Bercu, too, feels comfortable wearing Onot. So much so that she’ll be starring in the label’s spring ad campaign.

In fact, the collection could easily convince people that the clothes were bought at another chain. It even includes a matching jeans-and-shirt outfit, and a bunch of little black dresses.

On the other hand, the long dresses with psychedelic prints seem like a mirage of the bad old days. Who came up with this unfunny joke?

Opinions are split on the attributes of bold prints. One camp says they’re good because they blur the view; the other says they offset the benefits of slenderizing black. Either way, a djellaba dress in a marbleized pattern and a variety of ice cream shades isn’t very tempting.

Still, the other djellaba dresses, in shades of black, white or coral, some with silver embroidery on the sleeves or chest, bring out the uniqueness of the Onot collection compared to foreign labels. And since curvy women aren’t always dressing for work or a party, there’s also a separate sportswear department.

Trousers: 80 to 330 shekels; shirts: 40 to 300 shekels; jackets: 250 to 340 shekels; skirts and dresses: 200 to 400 shekels.

Michaela Bercu for Onot's spring 2014 collection. Credit: David Hasson
Michaela Bercu on Vogue in 1988 Credit: Courtesy
Bercu. 'Tents,' some say. Others beg to differ. Credit: David Hasson

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