The sunny day that greeted the attendees at the fashion show for Castro’s spring-summer 2015 collection was perfectly apt. It suited the pleasant optimism of the collection and provided a terrific backdrop for a tightly constructed collection that could certainly be described as “true Israeli fashion design.”
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Tuesday’s fashion show provided an important lesson in so-called local design – about inspiration as well as the clothes, colors, silhouettes and use of traditional craftsmanship. If there were no real stand-out moments in this show, it’s because of the unity and coherence that were maintained throughout. This is how you build a good story, and this is how you offer a local alternative, one that other Israeli fashion designers and fashion houses should learn from.
The singer Dikla, who performed throughout the show, helped infuse it with just the right feeling. First out on the square stage, with a tree planted in the middle, was Gal Gadot, in a maxi-dress with a plunging neckline front and back. She was followed by Noam Frost in a jalabiya with beading, and they set the tone for a mild ethnic variation on clothes that are nonchalant and comfortable, with little details that weren’t overdone, mostly in shades of khaki and stone, with touches of geometric prints and lovely wooden jewelry.
Also in the show was a series of very well-done dip-dyed clothes, some in black and white, and others in local shades of yellow and blue. They were joined by models in sweatshirts adorned with beads and seashells, oversize trousers, loose-fitting knee-length or ankle-length pants, and ripped white jeans that looked effortlessly used.
The batik shirts, African prints and dip-dyed clothes lent the show a local feeling combined with trendy ethnic touches, which were given a unique and successful interpretation here. There was also a group of clothes that corresponded with the work clothes trend, with the women’s items having things like cargo pockets, mostly on overalls and oversized shirts, or in denim suits or linen suits in laborer-blue on the male models, which looked like a refreshing new take on the legendary Ata designs, as if famed designer Junya Watanabe had been asked to design a time capsule collection. Little details like Chinese collars, external pockets and patches were the kind of thing that a trained eye would notice, but that didn’t draw undue attention to themselves.
The collection also included some more elegant clothes made of soft silk fabrics, like loose blouses, cloche maxi skirts that were wonderful, embroidered jalabiyas, and henna prints that were placed on the clothes in a very thoughtful way. The men who strode down the runway in this part of the show wore long tunics, suits in genuine khaki color, and ankle-length trousers. It looked like a fantasy of an evening outing on an Israeli beach, a concrete fashion suggestion for the local climate and mode of attire, while also challenging the fashion space here a little.
When Dikla began singing “Here Comes the Rain Again” in the middle of the show, with a local accent and in a Mediterranean version of the Eurythmics’ song, it struck me that like her, Castro succeeded in taking an international trend and aptly translating it into the local lingo. Some people may have been hoping for a larger-than-life kind of fashion show, for a collection that was more glamorous or went more to extremes, but the label’s designers made it clear that this is where we live and that the ease and lack of effort are the right thing, especially for the summer.
It was a resort collection in the best sense of the word – with a feeling of nonchalance, yet thoughtful attention to detail that is not overdone, and with the right sort of colors to suit the location and relate to the world outside. If Castro has cracked the big riddle – of how to design a collection that is pretty and exciting, local and fashionable, that looks well-made but projects a wonderful sense of ease, it’s a sign that we’re in for a very successful summer.