Tel Aviv Fashion Week opened Sunday evening with Italian fashion house Missoni’s presentation of its Spring-Summer 2014 collection, which is already in the label’s stores, and two weeks after it showed its Winter 2014/15 collection in Milan. Attending the event were Fashion Week’s guests of honor, Missoni’s chief designer Angela Missoni, and her mother, the company’s founder Rosita Missoni.
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At an especially lengthy reception, speakers included Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Hulda’i, Fashion Week producer Motty Reif, and another guest of honor, Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani, who explained that she understood the difficulties faced by young designers trying to set up their own businesses, which is why she so appreciates their work. The evening was enthusiastically emceed by actress and producer Noa Tishbi, who now lives in the United States. Outside the official Fashion Week tent a group of demonstrators gathered, but not to protest the use and wearing of fur, as one might have thought: the protesters were holding signs slamming the Gindi construction firm that sponsors Fashion Week.
The Missoni summer collection contains dresses made of light, liquid fabrics, along with long and short jackets made of heavier fabrics. The palette ranged from trendy black-and-white combinations to prints and strong color mixes that are Missoni’s signature. There were some looks that exuded the nimbleness and athleticism of gym clothes, though that certainly was not the original intention.
What is certain is that the next time they are asked to demonstrate their power at such an event, women wearing these clothes will not have to work too hard. Any dutiful blogger who approaches them to take a photograph will not have to bother asking “What are you wearing?” since it will be clear from the prints on them.
At a press conference held Sunday morning, Sozzani spoke of her custom of meeting young designers all over the world, adding that she also planned to do so in Israel, where she is giving a speech at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design to designers and fashion design students. When she meets new designers, she expects to see new ideas in their designs, and to know that they are prepared to take risks and innovate, she said, adding that she is bored by designers who repeat themselves or copy others’ work. Exceptional fashion designers are what will help Israeli fashion make its mark on the world, Sozzani stressed, noting that Israel already has an excellent ambassador of this type abroad – Albar Elbaz, the chief designer at Lanvin.
Rosita Missoni captured the audience with her style, warmth, and light sense of humor. Like Sozzani, she said that she, too, supports encouraging young designers and believes that the world of fashion needs to unceasingly come up with new ideas.
Monday began with a fashion show by Tamara Salem, presenting her "Once" collection for the first time since she launched the label last year. Salem’s style is defined and almost uniform, characterized by a combination of hand-worked and laser-cut lace sewn to silky fabrics in black, white and emerald green – and that’s it.
It seems as if Salem has designed garments aimed at tall, elegant, and slim women who aren’t afraid of looking overdressed even when they’re aiming for a relatively simple look. As a result, it was hard to distinguish between the dresses and skirt-suits and the evening looks or bridal wear. The boundaries were clearer in the pantsuits, which appeared in the earlier part of the display, and had high and wide cuts and curled edges. These, combined with sleeveless jackets shaped like capes with emphasized shoulders, were an original and pleasant look for refined, meticulous daytime wear.
Some better arranging might have helped emphasize the most interesting samples of the collection, including galabiyas made of black and white silk with lace embroidery and fine stone settings, or the black, half-wrap pencil skirt, that could flatter women of different ages and body types. Unfortunately, they were nearly swallowed up among the many looks that appeared on the runway.