This past weekend, I attended the “Form and Fabric” fashion and art gala put on by the Tel Aviv Arts Council, TLV Style Boutique Tour, and Lili & Bloom.This is actually the first genuine Israeli haute fashion event I’ve attended, and I can honestly say that it exceeded my expectations.

Many posh people were in attendance, of course, including a few models who I recognized from my own time running to auditions throughout Tel Aviv. The stars of the event, however, were not the people who came to see and be seen, but the designers themselves–creative individuals who are a much-needed breath of fresh air in a land filled mainly with uninspired, mass-produced mall clothing.

All of the designers were absolutely fabulous, and for a full list of those who were in attendance, you may visit the Tel Aviv Arts Council’s Facebook album here. I even recognized a few of the designers from December’s Tel Aviv Fashion Week (which I did not attend personally, but have heard was also wonderful).

Here are my top three favorite designers from the evening, in case you are interested in exploring the world of Israeli haute couture, or are just looking for something original and exciting to wear around Tel Aviv.

Inbar Shahak

Inbar Shahak creates jewelry based on textile design, including lace and weaving patterns. The pieces are made primarily of metal, much of which has been chemically treated to give it a special look or color. When I asked about this, the designer and I found ourselves laughing about how hard it’s been to find a chemical solution that turns metal red without ruining it! My favorite pieces in the collection were the large, bib-style necklaces that featured a feather design. Displayed side-by-side, the black and silver versions of this design spoke to my love of dance, years of ballet training, and my favorite ballet–Swan Lake, of course.

Toosha

I knew I wanted to touch and feel Toosha’s designs for myself before I even arrived at the gala venue. These creations are exactly how I like my knits–earthy, ethereal, and floaty. Just one touch and I knew that this designer is for me–all the fibers used in Toosha items are all-natural, and many are made solely from newly-popular fibers like bamboo. This is good news for me, a girl who is allergic to wool! If only I’d known of Toosha last October, when I was updating my winter wardrobe!

I love everything about the Toosha line, from its dedication to nature to the stories the friendly designer and I shared with each other about catching reptiles and amphibians in our youths. The one thing that definitely stands out for me, however, is this pull-over sweater. It seems warm enough for a cool day, cool enough for a warm day, and, like the feather necklaces from Inbar Shahak, reminds me of long days spent in a ballet studio. I can see myself living in this sweater soon.

Naim Qasim

Naim himself is quite an individual, and a person who some might not expect to meet at a Tel Aviv fashion event. He is a self-described Israeli/Palestinian-Arab, and one of the most well-recognized designers in the region. One of the reasons for this may be because his designs are so different from everything else usually seen in Israel. Whereas the Tel Avivian style of the day is quite bohemian in nature, Naim’s designs have a rigid and unapologetically haute look, which I adore. My favorite piece in his collection, which was actually on physical display for all to see, was his cream-colored winter coat, which would not be out of place at all in Paris or Milan. In fact, if I weren’t so in love with my own winter coat, I’d have inquired about the price.

I highly recommend contacting the designers of Inbar Shahak, Toosha, and Naim Qasim, as well as all of the designers who were present, if you are interested in visiting their studios and purchasing a few of their designs. All of the designers from the gala were very friendly and have beautiful souls, each with a unique story to tell.

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