IsRealli is a remarkable blog by the Israeli Consulate in New York City that uncovers the many great sides of Israel. The blog brings attention to country’s booming culture, nightlife and it’s passionate people. Isrealli recently highlighted Tel Aviv’s recognition as one of the best cities in the world by Wallpaper, a well-known magazine in the design world.
Born and raised in a home where art was a constant part of life, Israeli glass jewelry designer Anat Eyal was in touch with her creative side at a very early age. Her creative imagination continued to bloom as she spent her childhood days in her father’s ceramics factory located in the popular artist’s quarters in Jerusalem.
It was there she learned how to integrate design with proper sculpting and artistic techniques to create materials that mimicked what she previously could only imagine.
Anat continued to foster her creativity by studying the graphics and design of museum exhibitions and ended up working in the field for 17 years. Her career took a slight change after she received a piece of glass jewelry as a gift. Captivated by the ability to sculpt with glass and its beautiful reflective qualities, Anat went on to study and specialize in the technique of glass sculpting.
Almost every event in the Jewish culture is an excuse for a celebration. Holidays, Weddings, Bris (Brit Milah), becoming of age at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or getting another year older are all reasons to gather family and friends together with food, drinks, laughter and, of course, gifts!
Giving someone you care about a unique gift for any of these occasions is a great way to show that you put thought into choosing his or her gift. However, when it comes to choosing presents that are unique, contemporary and still have Jewish significance, your choices are scarce.
So can Jewish gifts be cool?
Most gifts with Jewish significance tend to be considered old-fashioned and not something that appeals to younger generations. But many high-end designers in Israel have begun to fill this void by creating fashionable and cool products that inherently have Jewish elements, whether it’s aesthetically, such as with a Star of David, or simply through the concept of the gift being handmade in Israel.
This week we visited the ENK Circuit.Intermezzo trade show at the Javits Center, a great showing of designers ranging from jewelry and handbags to jeans and evening gowns that is targeted toward buyers. After a small confusion as to where the Israeli design trio – Magnes Sisters were actually showing their items (the Accessories Show, a separate trade show, was also being held at the Javits Center) we made it to the right spot to check out Their spring 2009 collection.
Chatting with the Magnes Sisters proved again that they are everything you could imagine, extremely nice and down to earth. They eagerly showed us their personal favorite handbags (Yael prefers the bigger bags, Tamar prefers the smaller ones) and we got to preview their amazing Spring 2009 line.
Over the past 20 years, Daniella Lehavi’s eponymous line of handbags, clutches, wallets, and shoes has become an icon of luxurious Israeli design.
Lehavi has acquired an ever-growing cluster of loyal followers, who return to Lehavi’s line for her unmatched quality. Lehavi describes her design aesthetic as having an eye for “new angles” as she is in the constant search of innovation.
Each season, the studio’s team of designers, led by Lehavi, creates four different collections that tell a different story, characterized by different materials, colors and textures. It is also her attention to detail, like the division of compartments, length of straps, placement of zippers, and appearance that continually draws her followers back for more.
To own a Kisim bag is to own a unique statement in Israeli design.
Founded in 1999, Yael Rosen’s line of leather handbags and accessories are innovative and crafted with a contemporary, yet feminine edge–influenced by Rosen’s own personal style–which she refers to as a haphazard approach to a classic style.
Rosen finds it fascinating to create interesting spaces and layers in her designs, and loves working with different types of materials. Her first bag, the Cube, was inspired by the traditional Japanese Furoshiki bag, a folded bag from a time when packages were tied up in squares of cloth.
Kisim bags are designed as a folded rectangle sewn to make a tote that may be tied, carried as a satchel, or to be worn with shoulder straps. The design seems complex, yet simple. Currently, her handbags are manufactured in Israel with Italian leather and additional accents imported from Spain.
Quite the conversation piece, with over 35 colors, patterns, and shapes, the Vazu flower vase works in any living space, though it’s the design of the piece alone that is something to talk about.
The way the Vazu is manufactured makes it strong, transparent and stable. Made from mainly polyethylene and polyester, the print is trapped between the layers, heat-welded to create the different shapes of the Vazu™. Durable for many years, after use, simply fold it flat until next time you need a vase.
The Vazu was developed by T.H.+E. Design Group Ltd., a team of three Israelis, looking for a new venture. From an interview with Jewcy.com:
TH+E stands for Tzvika, Hagai and Eitan, three childhood friends with no previous experience with designing vases. Tzvika was a law graduate managing products and projects in the Israeli hi-tech industry. Eitan was a cognitive psychologist specializing in human interfaces, and Hagai was a landscape architect renovating houses in the city of Tel-Aviv. Typical “mid-life crises” caused the brothers looking to do something different.
Much more than just an online shopping destination, Coolil.com has a dual purpose. Started by a young Israeli living in New York City, Coolil.com aims to keep expat Israelis in touch with the latest in design from their homeland and give exposure to the artistic endeavors of fashion-forward young Israeli designers.
And it’s no wonder why. Israeli design is quite unique, and the global marketplace is taking notice…
“Israeli fashion design is known for its unique urban fashion trends and its all-round daring and creativity, as in the juxtaposition of different cultures and sources of inspiration…” (Goabroad.net)
“‘Our point is to show people that Israeli fashion is not what you think. It doesn’t have to be ethnic; it can be elegant,” (Fashion Week Daily Dispatch)
“Tel Aviv…is awash in young designers with fresh takes on fashion and design. Neighborhood after neighborhood is loaded with small shops selling clothing, jewelry, and accessories made by local talent.” (The New York Sun)