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TLV Fashion Week hits the catwalk

House of Missoni and editor of Vogue Italia on hand to launch four days of runway shows, showcasing best of Israeli design

Debra writes for the JTA, and is a former features writer for The Times of Israel.

From left: Teresa Missoni, Franca Sozzani, Zeev Stein,  Angela Missoni and Rosita Missoni. (photo credit: courtesy of TLV Fashion Week)
From left: Teresa Missoni, Franca Sozzani, Zeev Stein, Angela Missoni and Rosita Missoni. (photo credit: courtesy of TLV Fashion Week)

The Gindi TLV Fashion Week kicked off its second installment on Sunday with a flashy, catered press conference and a verbal ping-pong of swooning praise between its Italian guests of honor and Motty Reif, the event’s producer.

Rosita Missoni, the 82-year-old matriarch of the famed Italian design house Missoni, is on hand for Tel Aviv Fashion Week this year alongside her daughter Angela, Missoni’s creative director, and Angela’s daughter Teresa. Also on hand is Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, who told the crowd assembled at the still-under-construction Gindi TLV Fashion Mall that Israeli fashion is gaining world acclaim thanks to House of Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz, and now the key is supporting and promoting young designers.

Sozzani and the Missonis were scheduled to attend the last Tel Aviv Fashion Week, which was held in 2012, but bowed out at the last second due to security concerns. They will make up for that absence Sunday evening by launching the four-day sartorial festival with a Missoni show, unveiling the house’s Summer 2014 collection to a crowd of rapt Israeli photographers and fashionistas, as well as meeting with design students at the Shenkar Design School and taking in Israeli street fashion around Tel Aviv.

For Reif, who in 2012 had a very public split with his business partner Ofir Lev, with whom he co-produced the first-ever Tel Aviv Fashion Week in 2011, the presence of both Sozzani and the Missoni Family was quite a triumph. Lev and Reif managed to create just one fashion week together before having a spectacular falling out, which according to the Israeli media was caused by a toxic cocktail of ego, money and artistic differences. In 2012 they each created their own separate and competing fashion weeks, splintering the already tiny Israeli fashion industry even further, and in 2013 a series of fallbacks and postponements meant that there were no events at all.

Lev has yet to set a date for his event this year, but Reif’s 2014 Fashion Week, sponsored by Gindi Investments and Blue Square Real Estate, is set to be impressive. A total of 22 shows will span the four days, including those by Ronen Chen, Sasson Kedem and Dorin Frankfurt. The closing gala on Wednesday will feature a fashion show in honor of the 97th birthday of Ruth Dayan, the widow of Moshe Dayan and the founder of Maskit, the first Israeli clothing line.

In lieu of models, “real” women, including author Lihi Lapid (wife of Finance Minister Yair Lapid) and Yael Huldai (wife of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai) will walk the runway in fashions from Maskit, which opened in 1956.

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