Tag : fashion

January 10, 2019 by

A Modest Fashionista

Batsheva Hay, nee Rosenberg, is a selfstyled fashionista who cultivated a penchant for mixing vintage with contemporary pieces to create her own unique look. Recent profiles in the New Yorker and the New York Times reveal a fascinating story: When she was in her twenties, and working as a lawyer in New York City, she met Alexi Hay, a well-known fashion photographer. He had recently become an Orthodox Jew, one with a growing interest in Orthodox clothing. Batsheva shared this interest, and he began photographing her wearing the covered-up styles favored by the frum.

Fast forward a few years: Batsheva, now married to Alexi and leading an Orthodox life on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, wanted to have a favorite Laura Ashley dress remade. The pattern alone was going to cost $250, so she decided she would have several versions of the dress sewn, using fabrics, some intended for upholstery, that she scored on eBay. And while she was at it, she decided to tweak the sleeves, adding a big pouf, and add a collar too.

Screen Shot 2019-01-10 at 4.45.48 PMThe dresses she made were “I feel I can be a better advocate having my own voice… Women have been anonymous for far too long.” SUSAN UNTERBERG, photographer and philanthropist, recently stepped forward as the formerly anonymous donor behind a $5.5 million grant program that has supported underrecognized female artists over 40 for the last 22 years. Recipients of the grant, “Anonymous Was A Woman,” receive $25,000 to help support their careers. garnering notice from fashion-savvy New Yorkers who saw in them something unique and also authentic. With their haimish-looking cottons, girlish prints (florals are big in the Hay pantheon, but strawberries and teddy bears figure prominently too), they weren’t pretending to be naive or quaint— they actually embodied those qualities.

And the fickle fashion tribe quickly jumped on board. These days, Hay’s dresses, sometimes styled with pigtails and platform boots, are worn by the likes of Lena Dunham, Gillian Jacobs, Jessica Chastain and Natalie Portman.

So what does it tell us that a newly minted fashion darling is also an observant Jewish woman, raising her children within the sheltering embrace of an ancient tradition? Well, for one thing, Hay came on the scene at a time of prairie-revival and Little House chic; there have been a lot of calicos, flounces and high, ruffled collars on the runway of late.

But Hay’s contribution to this moment seems less like dress-up, and instead engages with deeper questions of faith and observance. It’s as if she’s demanding that Orthodox women—on the runway sidelines by tradition and by choice—step into the mainstream without compromising core values.

What strikes me as most interesting here is how the whole point of modest religious dress, designed in its way both to identify its wearers as of-a-tribe and also to keep them apart from the world at large, is upended by Hay’s clothing.

YONA ZELDIS MCDONOUGH, The Lilith Blog, November 14, 2018.

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October 3, 2018 by

Sara Berman’s Closet

Sara Berman's Closet

 

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September 27, 2018 by

Fashion Statements •

Israel’s globally trendsetting fashion design is the subject of the exhibition “Fashion Statements,” that features a diverse range of over 150 outfits of traditional dress, both Jewish and Arab, and explores themes of religious and national symbolism. The exhibition’s four sections—Holy/ Land; Austerity/Prosperity; Made in Israel; and Fashion Now—move the viewer from late 19th-century indigenous pre-Zionist “fashion” to the Europeanism and Orientalism in the early decades of the state, to the growth of leading industries and fashion houses like Gottex, Maskit, Fini Leitersdorf, and Rojy Ben-Joseph, as well as global contemporary brands. Until Feb 1, 2019, at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. israelmuseum.org.il

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The Lilith Blog

July 26, 2018 by

An Ode to Iris Apfel

At age 84, Iris Apfel had the distinction of being the first living person whose clothing was exhibited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s renowned Costume Institute. Ever since I stumbled upon the show Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection at the Met in 2005, I became an ardent fan of Apfel. Walking through the galleries, I was captivated by her highly original way of mixing  high-low fashion, as well as her knack for building an outfit with the depth, complexity and wit of an accomplished visual artist. 

Iris_Apfel_at_MIFFI bought the accompanying book and kept Apfel on my radar—and so did the media. There were the various sightings and snapshots by the late Bill Cunningham, a 2015  Emmy-nominated documentary by the late Albert Maysles, a costume jewelry line sold on the Home Shopping Network and a partnership with MAC Cosmetics. But it was the most recent addition to the Apfel canon, Iris Apfel: Accidental IconMusings of a Geriatric Starlet (HarperDesign) that made me understand her place in the tapestry (pun intended!) of Jewish history. 

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