History · Israel · Judaism · Uncategorized

Chag Sameach & Happy Passover

The Jewish people celebrate Pessach (Passover) to commemorate the story of the Exodus, their liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt and their birth as a nation under the leadership of Moses. According to the Bible, God helped the Children of Israel escape slavery by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians: the Plague of blood, frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts*, darkness and the death of the firstborn. (*I’m not superstitious but Egypt and Israel had a big plague of locusts just last week, weird) The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb so that God knew to pass over these homes and spare them from the curses, hence the name of the holiday. It is said that when the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). Therefore, during the eight days of Passover, no leavened bread is supposed to be eaten, only Matzah.

The rituals unique to the Passover celebrations commence with the Passover Seder. In our family tradition we celebrate the seder with never less than 25 people, gathering over a big meal and some adapted Haggadah reading and singing. In Tel Aviv the Holiday is both observed and ignored, as usual in paradoxical Tel Aviv. On a daily level this mainly means that locals are going away on vacation, tourists are taking over the city, inaugurating beach season and that way too many youngsters from out of town (B&T) come in to party. I like some of those annual traditions; the family Seder, remembering school memories and childhood traditions; where was I last year, what has changed since. It’s always a good occasion for some in(tro)spection. Passover also symbolizes the celebration of freedom. Inner freedom means personal happiness. We don’t have control on most things in life, but the part we do have in our hands, is the liberation from our own barriers, monsters, defenses, roles, patterns and expectations. Being free means being you, the true you.

2013-03-251IMG_10682013-03-25IMG_11152013-03-252All photos taken with my Canon EOS M

Architecture · Art · beauty · Fashion · History · Photography · Tel Aviv

“Lady of the Daisies” – Lea Gottlieb

“Lady of the Daisies” is a tribute to the work of Israeli fashion designer and entrepreneur Lea Gottlieb. Founder of worldwide swimwear brand Gottex – famed for the Seven Suit that sold over one million pieces in 1985 alone – Gottlieb was a prominent and exceptional swim and beachwear designer and innovator of Israel’s textile industry. The exhibition opened with an exclusive VIP launch at the Design Museum in Holon and is running till May 4th. Galit Gaon, Chief Curator at the Museum explains: “This homage to the work of a trailblazing woman who led a vision of design and industry in Israel is an important evolutionary step in the life of the museum. Lea Gottlieb put Israeli fashion on the map with her elegant and flattering designs that have sold to over 80 countries.”

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Lea Gottlieb emigrated from Hungary to Israel in 1949 with her husband Armin who owned a raincoat factory. Lea immediately understood that raincoats were not as appropriate for the climate of the Middle East. Still water-minded, she started sewing swimsuits which launched to instant success in 1956. Gottex was innovative and sophisticated, with products sold in over 80 countries. Over the years, Lea Gottlieb’s designs have featured on the covers of the world’s most prestigious fashion magazines. Prominent figures who have worn her designs include Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, Queen Noor, Mrs. Nancy Kissinger, and movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Brooke Shields. Lea Gottlieb continued to design a new collection every year up to 2002. Work on the exhibition began more than six months ago with the process of sorting and selecting pieces from her archives. She also visited the museum to assist in determining the content before she passed away at the end of 2012; she was 94. A memorial book for Lea Gottlieb will be available in 2014.

The exhibition showcases the history of Gottex swimwear through costumes, inspirational photographs, films and catalogs. The main gallery includes swim and beachwear designs in addition to works of art that acted as original inspiration. Curated by fashion researcher Ayala Raz, this aspect of the exhibition pays direct homage to the life and work of Lea Gottlieb. It is known that Lea Gottlieb loved flowers, partly because they had helped her save her life from the Nazis in her native Hungary. When out in the street, she often held a bunch of flowers up to her face, so that Nazis would take her for a regular peasant girl. Flowers figured prominently in Gottlieb’s fabric designs, usually in bold, eye catching colors. She was particularly fond of hibiscus. Sophistication was the name of the game.

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The second gallery focuses on contemporary design and Creative Director Molly Grad’s transformation of the Gottex brand in recent years. A specially commissioned model designed by Molly Grad is presented. This unique piece is accompanied by Grad’s sketches, illustrations and quotes to represent her world of inspiration. Grad explains, “The illustrations in the exhibit are like my fingerprints, a representation of my personal process and primary experience as an artist and creator. They are not indicative of a specific moment or time, but rather an ongoing approach. I have always drawn, ever since I was about three years old. Wherever I go, I always bring a pencil.”

2013-03-1992013-03-19102013-03-198All photos taken with my Canon EOS M

 

Antwerp · Fashion

Urban couture: Antwerp as a Fashion capital.

Antwerp is known to deliver great talent, especially when it comes to fashion. The era and influence of the avant-garde Antwerp 6 is still a story that captivates experts and students all over the world. This article hopes to provide a better view on Antwerp’s fashion and the influence of the Antwerp Fashion Academy on Antwerp itself and on the world as well.

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Above: The ready to wear Spring 2013 collection by some of Antwerp’s former fashion students.

Romain Brau, fashion designer and owner of concept store RA (Antwerp & Paris), knows both fashion and Antwerp due to his studies at the Antwerp Fashion Academy (part of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts). “I chose to study at the Antwerp Academy, because it’s an Art School before everything else and I like the freedom that art holds. I wanted to feel at home and relax. I knew I would be happy in Antwerp. I am Parisian so when you have to choose between a city where you can get a flat of 200 m2 for the price of a 10 m2 in Paris you don’t think twice, especially when the international press tells you the Antwerp Academy is the best school of the world! When I started studying it all made sense to me. The Academy taught me to mix art and fashion. I just loved it!”

Romain Brau (c)Above: Romain Brau wearing part of his own collection.

The less technical, more artful approach of the Academy is probably one of the biggest reasons of its success. “A lot of international students come to study at the Antwerp Academy, often after finishing a more technical Fashion design course. The fact that the Antwerp Academy offers the freedom to express your individuality through design and really treat your work as an art form makes the Academy a magnet for fashion students everywhere. Last year we had 40 nationalities in a class of 200”, explains Karen Van Godtsenhoven. Since 2009 she has been working as curator at the Antwerp Fashion Museum, which resides in the same building as the Antwerp Academy.

Antwerp FashionLeft: Karen Van Godtsenhoven, curator to the Antwerp Fashion Museum. Right: Romain Brau, contemporary fashion designer.

Where did all this success come from? “Since 1960 Antwerp offers a department in fashion. Back then it was very amateurish. During the 1980’s the Academy presented 6 designers with a distinct radical vision for fashion. They established Antwerp as a notable location for fashion design. The breakthrough occurred when the Antwerp 6 set out for the London fashion fair with their collections. They have put this city on the fashion map ever since.” The Antwerp 6 (Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Walter van Beirendonck, Dirk van Saene and Marina Yee) all own their very distinct style and trademark. Note: Martin Margiela was also a student at the Antwerp Academy at the time of Antwerp 6. However, he did not join them to the London show and is therefore not part of the original group.

antwerp6Above & under: the Antwerp 6

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The Antwerp 6 have set an example for their continuators at the Flemish academies, such as Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho, Haider Ackermann, etc., and they have set a solid ground for fashion in Antwerp. “Individuality is the most important trademark for the Antwerp Academy. Designers that graduate from the Antwerp Academy are known to create collections in which the wearer becomes part of the designer’s world,” Karen explains. The minimalism of Demeulemeester, the drama in Dries Van Noten, even the theatrical in Romain Brau: each designer has their own signature. Romain agrees: “it’s true that individuality is an important factor that is being emphasized. My personal style is more dandy and opulent in a contemporary way. I love the 1920ies and I love luxurious material. I never had the feeling that I had to restrain my own style while studying at the Academy. Au contraire, I feel that the Academy helped me develop my style even further! It’s when I saw the work of Angelo Figus and Cristopher Devos (half of the duo behind Peter Pilotto), both also Antwerp Academy alumni, that I felt less alone in my way to create.”

(c) Romain BrauAbove: collection Romain Brau.

How about the future? “It’s very striking that most students nowadays choose security by choosing to work for a designer. The current financial crisis is probably the main reason for this shift. That’s why we are working on new initiatives to offer fashion students the possibility to present their collections worldwide without having to spend a lot of money. We are working on a digital platform for example, through which we encourage students to film their collections, we also present the best collections in the Museum,” Karen continues.

And how about the influence of all this high fashion on Antwerp itself? Helen and Tine are 19-year-old twin sisters that have a blog about Antwerp street style. Their blog was nominated for the 2012 Blog Awards. Almost everyday they hit the streets of Antwerp, armed with a camera, to document the fashion this city oozes. “Antwerp fashion is very obstinate and careless. People in Antwerp have a very distinctive style and know very well what pieces to combine to get the best result. They play with details, like sneakers or colored lipsticks,” states Helen. Tine agrees: “In general, Antwerp street style contains a good mix of trends and own style. People in Antwerp are very realistic. They want to look good for their own pleasure and not to impress others. This sometimes leads to extravagant looks, especially with the students of the Fashion Academy.”

Desktop3Desktop4Antwerp fashion students are welcome features in the Antwerp Street style blog. “Their presence in Antwerp often serves as an example for others, like some sort of living trend-guide. People here are very proud of ‘their’ Academy. It determines the Antwerp identity and has turned a lot of us into chauvinistic fashionlovers.” On the question which Antwerp designer is their favorite, both girls choose Dries Van Noten. “His new collection is so beautiful. Dries has developed his very own style throughout the years, but his collections are always innovative.”

And my personal favorite? Even though I’m not that big of a fashion junk, I have to admit that both Ann Demeulemeester en Haider Ackermann are on my list of favorite designers. Both Haiders en Anns cuts are simple, but their creations are often asymmetric and sewn of different materials, which gives them not only a resolutely modern and dynamic feel, but also makes them more urban, without losing anything on the sophistication of the feminine silhouette.

Special thanks to Karen and Romain for their time and devotion and to Tine and Helen for getting back to my emails faster than bullets 😉

Sien Josephine


Design · Fashion · History · Neve Tzedek · Tel Aviv · Uncategorized

Fabric & Form – Fashion and Israeli art

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Being from Antwerp, I must have been born with a sense of fashion, style and design. Being a blogger, it was about time for some fashion. Of course there will be a broad Antwerp Fashion post by Josephine, but today is about the Tel Aviv scene. And not to be underestimated. Yes the country is barely 65 years old, yes we still have a lot to learn and yes I could go on about all we are lacking in the field of fashion and style. But I’d rather share the good news and focus on those pioneers paving the way for the Israeli fashion, design & art industry. Thursday night was the opening event for “Fabric & Form: Fashion & Art exploration” – the Cutting Edge of Israeli Fashion, Art & Design initiated by TLVStyle. The first ever 3-day interactive and creative journey into the world of Israeli designers and artists. The event opened for the Tel Aviv Arts Council community with an exclusive gala at the historical and charming Lili&Bloom. An audience eager to discover the intricacies of Israel’s fashion world and get up close and personal with Israeli designers, artists, stylists, and bloggers. The curators (Galit Reismann, Deborah Shahar and Rei Dishon) are exploring the relationship between the garment as an art and the art as a garment.

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During the weekend (Friday from 10am & Saturday till 09pm) Lili & Bloom will be open to the public, free of charge, for a celebration of Art, Fashion and Tel Aviv’s urban style. The collective of designers includes 10 fashion accessories designers and 6 fashion designers: Northern Star by Nadav Rosenberg, Adam Gefen, Michal Basaad, Maria Berman, FROG by Einat Burg, Daniella Gelfer, Tamar Branitzky, Inbar Shahak, Sailor by Efrat Shahar, Avital Coorsh, Sharon Vaizer, Osnat Har-noy, Liza Arjuan, Michal Ben Ami, Toosh JUDTLV and Studio SFOG. Among the artists: Danit Peleg, Katerina Nevler, Gidi Smilansky, Hadas Malin, Ben Gal, Eleonore Millstein, Jonathan Goldman and Signor Gi.

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All photos taken with Canon EOS M

Focus on

Focus on: Magali Pinchasi

We always like to hear stories about how people get inspired, develop their talents and chase their dreams. It’s even more interesting when the story is about a young girl from Antwerp who found her inspiration in Tel Aviv. This particular story is about Magali Pinchasi, a young creative girl with a passion for jewelry, fashion and color. I met Magali in a little coffee bar. Modest but proud and continuously smiling she talks about her life, her jewelry collection and her connection to both Antwerp and Tel Aviv.

423398_10151036661998429_581808444_n22 year old something Magali Pinchasi has been fascinated by jewelry ever since she was little, which isn’t all that surprising since her dad works in the diamond industry. Magali holds a degree in communication sciences and did her internship in Public Relations. After graduating from University she took a jewelry design course at London’s Gemological Institute of America, but it was a vacation in Tel Aviv that did wonders for Magali’s inspiration. While walking past the little souvenir stalls in Neve Tzedek, an idea started to develop: creating unique mix & match jewelry that would not only suit everyone, but would also be affordable for everyone. Back in Antwerp she ordered a whole lot of rope and trinkets and started making bracelets. Why rope? “Rope has unlimited options: colors, textures, etc. It’s a very affordable material for a large audience. Rope is very flexible and manageable. Since I make every bracelet myself , it’s much more interesting time-wise.”

A night out made Magali decide to turn her hobby into an actual jewelry business. “I constantly wear my own bracelets. One night, a girl approached me at a party and asked me where I got them from. This was the push i needed to actually get my bracelets out there.” Magali named her brand “BE by Magali Pinchasi”. “BE stands for Beautiful and Belgian, since all the jewelry is 100% made in Belgium”. She started selling the bracelets online on her website. Magali quickly build a reputation by using social media. Soon bloggers contacted her and not much later Magali scored an interview for Steps City magazine. This interview was proof that her business was getting more and more serious and orders started pouring in. Her collections are now being sold in stores such as Princess Blue (Antwerp) and Blue Rose (Wilrijk). Every bracelet is handmade by Magali herself, which makes every piece even more unique. Customers can also personalize the bracelets if they want to by filling in the request form online.

Magali

Onlangs bijgewerktFor the new collection Magali will use diamonds in her bracelets. “My first motivation is to create, to discover new things. That’s why I work with diamonds, but with every intention to stay affordable. A diamond doesn’t have to be expensive. I don’t want to be a high-class brand. I want to create a more luxurious line within BE that remains affordable for a larger audience. And of course it would also remain as colorful as the other collections.” How about an international career? “I don’t dare to dream of an international business just yet. For now I prefer to keep production in my own hands – literally. But if Colette in Paris would ask me if they can sell my bracelets, i wouldn’t refuse! (laughs)”.

When Magali is not working our creating, she likes to walk around in Antwerp. “Every Saturday afternoon I go to the city, to shop or to walk around and watch people. I think Antwerp is a very cosy and fashionable city with a lot of diversities. There are so many kinds of people, it’s inspiring to just sit down and watch them pass by.” Her affordable mix&match-policy is not limited to her brand. When it comes to her own style Magali likes to combine Belgian brand Essentiel with Zara. “I like everything, as long as it’s colorful.” And what about Tel Aviv? “My grandmother lives in Tel Aviv, I visit her every Summer. I love to walk around Neve Tzedek, have pancakes at Benedict or just enjoy some sun at Golden Beach. Actually, I’m a big fan of all the Tel Aviv classics (smiles). Even though I could never live there, Tel Aviv is important to me. It’s where I found my inspiration.”

BE by Magali Pinchasi can be found at:

  • Princess – Meir 51 – Antwerp
  • Princess Blue – Schrijnwerkersstraat 7 – Antwerp
  • Just Folie – Turnhoutsebaan 186 – Schilde
  • Blue Rose – Jules Moretueslei 402 – Wilrijk
  • Vandenbalck Optics – Bondgenotenlaan 57 – Leuven
  • Zappas – Boornstraat 50 – Bornem
  • and of course online!
General · History

For all the women that made us women.

Today is International Women’s Day. This is the day to thank all the women who have ever fought or are still fighting for women’s rights somewhere in this world. Here are a few of the women we believe kick ass!

WOMEN who KICK ASS2-001(From left to right)

Nawal El Saadawi has been called the godmother of Egyptian feminism with the rebel gene. She has written many books on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital cutting in her society. She is founder and president of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights.She has been awarded honorary degrees on three continents. In 2005 she won the Inana International Prize in Belgium.

Fauja Singh. Fair enough he’s a man. But men deserve some credit too. Fauja is the oldest runner alive. He runs for women’s rights. Recently he organised a mini-marathon to register his concerns over the recent incidents and generate social awareness for the rights and security of women in India.

Golda Meir was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of Israel in 1969. Israel’s first and the world’s third woman to hold such an office, she was described as the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir “the best man in the government”; she was often portrayed as the “strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people”. A famous quote by Golda Meir: “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

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Ellen  Johnson Sirleaf. Africa’s first female President (Liberia) and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Her work has had a significant impact on women’s rights and peace movement. Prize motivation: “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Margaret Cho. Korean American comedian and women’s rights activist. She is best known for her stand-up routines, through which she critiques social and political problems, especially those pertaining to race and sexuality.

Gloria Steinman. A leader of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the late 1960s and 1970s, Steinman helped create both New York and Ms. magazines, and helped form the National Women’s Political Caucus. An intelligent, independent woman who cleared the path for all us writers!

WOMEN who KICK ASS1(From left to right)

Ayaan Hirsi. Ali is a Somali-Dutch feminist and atheist activist, writer and politician who is known for her views critical of Islam. She wrote the screenplay for Theo van Gogh’s movie Submission, after which she and the director both received death threats, and the director was murdered. The daughter of the Somali politician and opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse, she is a founder of the women’s rights organisation the AHA Foundation. On visiting Israel she said: “My main impression was that Israel is a liberal democracy. In the places I visited, including Jerusalem as well as Tel Aviv and its beaches, I saw that men and women are equal.”

Coretta Scott King. Civll and Women’s Rights activist and the widow of Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During a solidarity speech in 1968, she called for women to “unite and form a solid block of women power to fight the three great evils of racism, poverty and war”.

Manal al-Sharif. principal campaigner for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. One of her more famous campaigns is the 2011 women driving campaign, for which she was arrested for a week.

WOMEN who KICK ASS3-001(From right to left)

Amelia Earheart. The first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. “One of my favorite phobias is that girls, especially those whose tastes aren’t routine, often don’t get a fair break. It has come down through the generations, an inheritance of age-old customs which produced the corollary that women are bred to timidity.” She disappeared during an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937.

Eleanor Roosevelt. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Roosevelt was a controversial First Lady for her outspokenness, particularly for her stands on racial issues. She was the first presidential spouse to hold press conferences, write a syndicated newspaper column, and speak at a national convention. She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Japanese Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees.

Benazir Bhutto. The first woman to lead a Muslim country in modern history and become prime minister of Pakistan.

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Hilary Rodham Clinton. American Politician. Her famous speech in Beijing in 1995, in which she declared that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights”, inspired women worldwide and helped galvanize a global movement for women’s rights.

Shirley Chisholm. First black female elected to Congress. She later became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The second female justice (after Sandra Day O’Connor) and the first Jewish female justice. Before becoming a judge, Ginsburg spent a considerable portion of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of women’s rights as a constitutional principle.

Happy Women’s day to all us women!

Marilyn & Josephine

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