In recent years, the Israeli fashion scene has weaved itself onto haute couture runways with its silky fabrics, sophisticated embroidery and Middle Eastern pizzazz. Since its humble beginnings with fashion houses Maskit and Gottex in the 1950s, Israeli fashion has evolved into a global trendsetter, and Israeli designs are now worn by some of the world’s most glamorous women.
From Beyoncé and Lady Gaga to Lindsay Lohan, celebs are clamoring for dresses by these five Israeli designers:
Alon Livné‘s popularity has skyrocketed since Beyoncé and Lady Gaga were spotted wearing gowns with his signature structured metallic bodice. Beyoncé, enamored with Livné’s sci-fi chic evening wear, commissioned the quirky designer to create her wardrobe for her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour in 2013. Even the widely popular Hunger Games film series had Livné designing outfits for its protagonists.
Prior to conquering Fashion Week in 2013, the designer apprenticed at the famous Alexander McQueen and Roberto Cavalli fashion houses. Following his successful 2013 show, supermodel Naomi Campbell and fashionista Nina Garcia were added to the list of stars to be spotted in a Livné gown.
Yigal Azrouël is a veteran Israeli designer, whose eye-catching work promulgated him onto the international fashion scene early on. Building a prestigious fashion label in New York City, the designer showed his first collection in 1998 and has been designing for the stars ever since.
Celebrities love Azrouël for his edgy, but feminine evening and ready-to-wear collections, with bold draped patterns and cuts that enhance the female body. American model Chrissy Teigen wore his cream-wrap skirt at the Billboard Women in Music event last year; and television personality Khloé Kardashian was seen donning his organza “Eyelet” leather jacket on a night out.
Other celebs to wear his designs are Lindsay Lohan, spotted partying in Azrouël’s green sequined dress, and actress Anne Hathaway, who rocked his ivory angora coat for her iconic role as Andy in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.”
Showing at the last Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York was another esteemed Israeli designer, Idan Cohen. His bold evening and bridal collections celebrate the female figure in all its glory. “My collection is very sexy, but still conservative,” Cohen tells NoCamels.
Cohen first broke onto the New York fashion scene when otherwise “cut-throat” fashion author and publicist Kelly Cutrone was impressed by what she called “an impeccable collection.” Most recently, he dressed musician Nicki Minaj and his design was featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. “When you see a woman in a gown of mine, I want you to see a confident, strong-minded woman who knows what she wants,” says Cohen.
Ronen Chen has been one of Israel’s successful fashion exports since the brand launched in the 1980s. The designer has since opened boutiques across Israel and in London, focusing on designs for “real women”, of all shapes and sizes. His collections are sold to over 400 independent stores in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. Over the past five years, he has supplied American upscale fashion retailer Nordstrom with his fashions.
Rounding up our list is a veteran fashion house leaping towards an international revival. Founded in 1954, Maskit is the brainchild of Ruth Dayan, the first wife of the late Israeli army chief and politician Moshe Dayan. At age 98, Dayan, as the chairwoman of Maskit, still works closely with head designer Sharon Tal, who apprenticed with internationally acclaimed couturier Alexander McQueen. Tal says her traditional, yet chic designs reflect the roots of Middle Eastern fashion, with a modern twist.
After its dissolution in 1994, Maskit has recently undergone a makeover. Gaining the support of billionaire industrialist Stef Wertheimer in 2013, Maskit showed at Moscow’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week the same year.