While there has long been a fledgling Holy Land fashion scene, the look Israelis usually went for was more pioneer than couture. But times have changed, and Israel has changed along with them. Once-provincial Tel Aviv has landed on high-fashion runways, and Israeli designers are making statements the world over.
Israeli fashion designer Inbal Dror announced in May that she will be designing a line of dresses for singer Beyonce's world tour. Dror, a graduate of the Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art in Ramat-Gan, who perfected her craft in Milan, was also Beyonce's choice for this year's Grammy Awards (1), where she presented Record of the Year while wearing a high-neck, low-back Dror wedding gown.
Dror isn't the only Israeli designer to catch Beyonce's eye: On her 2013 world tour, the megastar wore a striking red outfit created by another Israeli, Alon Livne. Livne, who began his career when he was 17 years old, trained at Alexander McQueen and Roberto Cavalli before winning Israel's version of Project Runway in 2009. The young designer's intricate, sculptural clothing has been snapped up by the likes of model Naomi Campbell and actress Lea Michele, and he even outfitted rapper Iggy Azalea (2) in one of his cutout leotards for a cover shoot for Cosmopolitan. Celebrities are also lining up for Israeli designers with more unorthodox fashion pedigrees: With no formal training, New York based Yigal Azrouel has made a name for himself with avant-garde, feminine and flattering designs (3). Actresses Salma Hayek, Jennifer Connelly, and Sarah Jessica Parker are among his fans. Younger faces are also making their mark. Designer Idan Cohen, who graduated in 2011 from the prestigious Istituto Marangoni in London, has dressed everyone from rapper Nicki Minaj to actress Laverne Cox (4).