This week saw the opening of a new exhibition, first of its kind, in Jerusalem’s Israel Museum: “Fashion Statements: Decoding Israeli Dress”. The exhibition is accompanied by the book “Fashion Statements”, which was published with four different covers, elegantly blurring the lines between an official museum catalog and a coffee table book.
The book is a cultural-sociological document, researching the development of local Israeli fashion through the eye of the past 70 years while revealing a spectrum of the important players: from the days of Ata and Maskit to Gottex and Gidon Oberson, and contemporary designers such as Alber Elbaz and Alon Livne.
The book’s design process and concept development took place in Dan Alexander Studio, in Paris and Tel Aviv. Working both from the local perspective and from a distance has disclosed the fact that ‘fashion’ isn’t about a ‘place’. Fashion and place are contrary to each other: Israel is a given territory while fashion is a definition of identity, it is creative, cultural, instigates protests and communicates messages. The fascinating research that we have carried out is rich with discoveries which are weaved throughout the book.
More than the book represents the past, it points to a social portraiture which looks to the future. The decision to design a series of cover, with four different iconic Israeli personalities – within them a Sudanese refugee living in Israel – produces a relevant perspective for the fashion and identity discussion; about culture, place, and the absence of these dimensions. This move calls for a conversation and raises awareness for the social developments taking place in Israel and around the world – just like fashion ought to do.
For us, the Sudanese Alain Godin is no less Israeli than Golda Meir, the fourth Israeli prime minister – who, also, was not born in Israel. The multiverse in which we live in, rich with different forms and identities, is an amazing starting point for an inspirational and creative process.
The personas on the covers are:
Golda Meir – The fourth Israeli prime minister.
Tami Ben Ami – Model and a fashion icon of the 1980’s.
Helit Yeshurun – Translator and editor, former actress and model, the daughter of the poet Avot Yeshurun.
Alain Godin – Model, born in Sudan and arrived in Israel age 8. He and his family are living in Israel with no legal status, dreaming of becoming a part of the Israeli society who still sees them as infiltrators.
All rights reserved for Israel Museum, Jerusalem.