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Revealing Bikinis And Puffy Skirts The Ticket In Israel

November 20, 1987

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) _ Israeli fashion went on parade in a show that included politics but focused on revealing bikinis, puffy short skirts and velvet evening wear by 17 of the country’s top designers.

The show on Thursday celebrated the birth of modern Israel 40 years ago, and was vivid proof that while the Jewish state has fought five wars and battled soaring inflation, it still has had time to produce stand-out fashion.

″People in Israel live under quite a bit of pressure, and sometimes it seems a bit ridiculous to work on fashion in these circumstances,″ said Tamara Jones, a top haute couture designer.

″But we strive to make life as normal as possible,″ she added.

The show is scheduled to go to Los Angeles in April 1988, where actress Elizabeth Taylor will moderate, according to organizers in Tel Aviv. Later runs are expected in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.

Israeli fashion for the 1988 season is moving toward shorter, fuller skirts and warm earth colors. Shoulder pads are still present, but they are rounded off, instead of square.

Another stand-out among the young designers was Anat Globus, who coupled short-short skirts with hooded, full-length coats in light colors.

Israel’s year-round warm weather, which permits sunbathing in November, has had a strong impact. Although furs by Anna Grenfor had five minutes on stage, winter wear generally was given short shrift.

Casual, comfortable clothes also had a more prominent spot on the fashion runway, another result of lifestyle in Israel where businessmen wear sandals more often than ties.

The show began with the skimpy swimsuits for which Israel is well-known, like those that prompted ultra-Orthodox Jews two summers ago to set fire to bus shelters featuring advertisements for swimwear.

The show’s swimsuits, by Gideon Oberzon, featured bare skin to the hips and beyond in tropical colors, with many for the 1988 season adorned with drawings of parrots.

Politics, never far from the surface in Israel, came up in the designs of one of six newcomers included in the show, Orna el-Ami.

Her waist-cut white shirts were decorated with verses in Hebrew from Jewish holy books, with a theme of coexistence between Jews and Arabs. ″Love your brother. Don’t seek to inherit the Earth,″ said one.

Leather wear, always strong in Israel, took the stage with everything from culottes to bare-shouldered evening dresses, produced by Gingette. ″Today we are using leather like fabric, making halters and shorts as well as coats and skirts,″ said Shooki Wagner, the show’s director.

Another highlight was velvet evening wear designed by Ms. Jones in autumn colors with full skirts cut above the knee and smocked sleeves.

Ready-to-wear fashion for the young by Rosh Indiani, Dynamic and Gazoz included super-modern, high-collared jogging suits and denim bikini tops combined with blue jean jackets.

The audience in Israel paid about $100 for each of the three fashion shows in a benefit for Tel Hashomer Hospital.

Money raised from the Los Angeles show, where tickets will go for $250, will go to an Israeli army program that involves foreign volunteers in the country’s defense forces.

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