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What is Israeli | Graduates 2014

Photo: Emmy Nikolayevsky | Photography: Itzik Biran
Category: Features

The main theme of the graduate fashion show held by the Department of Fashion Design at WIZO Haifa Academy of Design, was “Israeliness”. Twenty-one graduates took the stage with their graduate collections on which they had labored over the past year, and presented their interpretation of the subject.

The annual fashion show of the Department of Fashion Design at WIZO Haifa Academy of Design was held yesterday. The show, which signaled the opening of “graduates month”, revolved around the subject of Israeliness. Contrary to convention, the department’s faculty decided to give the students a theme for their various graduate collections – Israeliness. Each student interpreted the subject in his or her own way, and twenty-one collections took the stage, expressing a range of fashion styles, from tailored garments to evening gowns and street wear. A number of themes linked the different collections, first and foremost use of synthetic fabrics. Shiny, transparent, solid, nylon, and metallic fabrics were prominent on the runway, and raise the question whether use of these fabrics under the imposed title of “Israeliness” constitutes a criticism (even if not conscious) of the requirement to design a graduate collection under a dictated subject. Another was the use of a monochromatic palette – some used various shades of a single color, while others created collections in which each outfit was assigned its own single color.

We selected the most striking collections:

Irit Lustgarten | Photography: Itzik Biran
Irit Lustgarten | Photography: Itzik Biran

Irit Lustgarten

Initial thoughts: Geometry, transparencies, candy wrappers, Yaacov Agam, futuristic, metallic, shiny, prints, fascinating color clashes.

Made an impression on us: When the first model came out, the clashes of colors, the prints, and lines dazzled us, but with each design that followed, the collection coalesced in its fascinating use of colors, which at first grated and in the end came together to form an interesting and successful textile interpretation. Even without reading the text that accompanied each of the collections, it was clear that Yaacov Agam was present in each pocket and every stitch.

A flash of genius: The use of silvery materials and prints evoked water, and clearly simulated, albeit not literally or immediately, Agam’s fountains.

Reut Kalifa | Photography: Itzik Biran
Reut Kalifa | Photography: Itzik Biran

Reut Kalifa

Initial thoughts: Sequins, sparkling surfaces, hand embroidery, deconstructed symbols, Star of David, menorah, transparency, prints.

Made an impression on us: Despite the lack of uniformity in the level of the designs, the collection was interesting and managed to create a look that was simultaneously modest and bold. The subject of layers was accorded a somewhat different meaning when Kalifa chose to combine transparent and printed fabrics; the movement of the layers – separately and together – managed to accord added value to the familiar subject of layers. Particularly striking were the two coats – one printed and then sequined and beaded, and the other, a white coat with Neoprene (a fabric originally intended for diving suits) panels, and a black spine made from sequins.

A flash of genius: The white coat: precise, exciting, unique, and timeless.

Emmy Nikolayevsky | Photography: Itzik Biran
Emmy Nikolayevsky | Photography: Itzik Biran
Emmy Nikolayevsky | Photography: Itzik Biran
Emmy Nikolayevsky | Photography: Itzik Biran

Emmy Nikolayevsky

Initial thoughts: Colorful, prints, humor, textures, playful, quilting, interesting silhouettes, Israeliness.

Made an impression on us: The first impression was of a graduate who enjoyed creating her graduate project. Although her Israeliness is literal and shouts from all her designs, the result was fun, lighthearted, pleasant, and also shattered some conventions. The colors were prominent but not self-evident (orange-blue is not a common combination, and her choice of shades was accurate), the volumes of the garments accorded the collection an entertaining tone, quilts that are usually associated with the heaviness of winter coats, were translated into light, summery fabrics in the form of an innocent/childish/naïve pinafore dress printed with the familiar logo “Made in Israel”; while a flowery fabric was chosen for a kind of man’s waistcoat. The prints piled one atop the other in the outfits created density but avoided the heaviness that usually attends them.

A flash of genius: The letters hidden in the Babushka dress, with its intentional geometry and purpose, and an entertaining game for the audience.

Ortal Yehezkel | Photography: Itzik Biran
Ortal Yehezkel | Photography: Itzik Biran

Ortal Yehezkel

Initial thoughts: Monochrome, cream, white, yellow, knits, textures, layers, geometry, capes, coarseness, softness, natural, wild, whole.

Made an impression on us: The accurate and noteworthy styling, the interesting cuts, the wild feeling. The coarse textures were reminiscent of desert shepherds’ capes, and the yellow outfits of the blazing sun beating down on them. The balance between coarse and delicate, and between the layers and the exposed parts of the body was precise and sensitive. There was a sense of the collection being whole, of the outfits comprising it supporting each other, while being interesting in their own right as well. This collection managed to optimally convey that is was the sum of all its parts.

A flash of genius: We did not imagine that one collection could contain so many versions of a cape. The collection, which was well put together and fashionable, gave a feeling that this is how the Queen of the Desert should dress if the extreme journey were to be undertaken in style and chic.

Good luck to all the graduates!