Stepping inside Liora Taragan’s studio is like something out of the classic children’s book, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” In a moment of drastic transformation, you depart a small and dreary street in south Tel Aviv and are thrust into a cluttered empire filled with trinkets, fabrics and a dizzying array of colors and pictures.
Here in this eclectic studio, Taragan is busy at work creating a variety of ready-made clothes and accessories, as well as custom-made items for clients.
“What do I do, fashion or art?” the designer asks herself, noting the delicate tension at the heart of her designs. Taragan offers a broad spectrum of items including jackets and leather items, blouses, slacks, dresses, jalabiyas, jewelry, scarves and accessories. Each creation questions the generally accepted notions of the fashion world by blurring the distinctions between clothes, jewelry, functionality and aesthetics.
Taragan, 38, boasts an impressive resume. After studying fashion design at the Shenkar School of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan, she interned at Givenchy and Jean Paul Knott and worked for a short time for Roberto Cavalli (with the designer Tamara Yovel Jones ). She also has collaborated with Israeli designers such as Banot, Vivi Balaish and Dorit Bar Or (for DoDo ).
“Today I believe less in intermediaries,” says Taragan. “I want to get to know my customers. The important thing is the personal experience with the customer and their encounter with the clothes.”
Indeed, the encounter with Taragan’s clothes and accessories offers a glimpse into a fantastic world full of imagination and daring.
Feathers are a key element in her work, and they appear in a range of shapes and materials. Dozens of black leather feathers combine to create a scarf that also can work as a necklace or decorative accessory. Taragan also offers a macrame necklace with parrot feathers that resembles an African-inspired accessory; hair clips covered in feathers; a feather belt; and a soft jalabiya with leather feathers sparkling like strange and intriguing growths.
In the past year, feathers have appeared in many fashion houses, from Ann Demeuelemeester, who began making feather jewelry, to Kim Jones, who last week in Paris had models wearing Louis Vuitton men’s clothes with a feather on the lapel of their coats. And so, as Taragan manages to create a unique world all her own, it appears she is still loosely connected to the outside world as well.
The cuts of Taragan’s clothes are loose and simple. Examples are her oversized, black jalabiya, and her minimalist-cut blouse. Details such as gold shells and buttons, cast by the designer, give the clothes a unique and magical touch, and an almost mystical appearance.
Beyond the use of these garnishes, Taragan offers a selection of clothes that form the basis of her collection. A soft, black, leather jacket, tailored according to size, with an open neck and belt, acquires sex appeal through the use of multiple zippers and the soft leather’s amazing fit.
Riding-style leather slacks, tailored to the individual, are another amazing example of a simple item with a precise cut, soft leather and minimalist design. Her simple T-shirts made from fine fabrics in loose fits are elegant and appealing.
Other blouses made from double-layer, perforated taffeta with feathers attached look like a wild combination of 1920s influences and an Indian-inspired look. Polo shirts with gold buttons inset, which Taragan casts herself, have an elegant and mysterious look, despite their simplicity. The same is true of the layered skirt (of unequal layers ) which features a rubber zipper and can be worn as a maxi or rolled up.
The light look of a simple, white jacket conceals its quality. Oversized blouses with rope belts, silk blouses in black and red, and jalabiyas made of sweet viscose (with hidden pockets on the sides ) each maintain the clean line of Taragan’s designs.
Taragan’s accessories are a wonderful mix of exotic creations. Each one can be used in a variety of ways. A simple, cotton, Indian scarf with feathers can be used as the basis for add-ons such as pearls and fringe-like touches. Another scarf made of hand-knit cotton threads with flattened strips of silver and gold can also work as a necklace.
Taragan also offers a leather bracelet with cast shells coated in gold; huge necklaces that look like exotic armor; and items made of feathers, arrows and other decorative elements.
“It’s like a living body,” Taragan says of her creations. “These are breathing objects that shift and are in constant motion.”
Starting prices: scarves, NIS 450; jewelry, NIS 250; dresses, NIS 1,500; jackets, NIS 3,500; slacks and blouses, NIS 1,000. Telephone: 050-698-8434
Arad (Hebrew: עֲרָד; Arabic: عِرَادَ) is a city in the South District of Israel. It is located on the border of the Negev and Judean Deserts, 25 kilometers (15.5 mi) west of the Dead Sea and 45 kilometers (28.0 mi) east of the city Beersheba. The city is home to a diverse population of 23,400 including Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, both secular and religious, Bedouins and Black Hebrews, as well as native-born Israelis and new immigrants. The city is notable for its clean, dry air and serves as a major attraction to asthmatics worldwide.
Although attempts to settle the area were made as early as 1921, the city was founded only in November 1962 as one of the last two development towns to be established, and the first planned city in Israel. Arad’s population grew significantly with the Aliyah from the Commonwealth of Independent States in the 1990s, and peaked in 2002 at 24,500 residents. The city has seen a decline in population ever since.
As the second-largest city in Israel in terms of jurisdiction, Arad contains a number of large public places and facilities, such as the ruins of Tel Arad, the Arad Park, an airfield serving domestic flights, and Israel’s first legal race circuit. It is also well known for its annual music festival, which was one of the most popular annual music events in the country until 1995.
Renowned novelists Vikas Swarup (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and Tracy Chevalier (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”) will visit Israel as part of the third International Writers Festival.
Other prominent authors expected to arrive for the festival are Howard Jacobson (winner of the Booker prize for “The Finkler Question”) and Aleksandar Hemon (“The Lazarus Project”).
The festival, which will be held from May 13 to 18 in Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood, will be attended by writers from Israel and abroad who will take part in literary meetings, workshops and discussions on the many aspects of literary writing, the process of creating a story, translation and bridging cultural gaps.
Other guests include Gary Shteyngart from the United States (“Super Sad True Love Story,” “Absurdistan,” ” The Russian Debutante’s Handbook”), Gerard Donovan of Ireland (“Julius Winsome”), Lorenza Mazzetti of Italy (“The Sky Falls”), Claudia Piñeiro of Argentina (“Thursday Night Widows”), and Boualem Sansal of Algeria (“Le Village de l’allemand”).
The Israeli novelists who have already confirmed their participation include David Grossman, A. B. Yehoshua, Aharon Appelfeld, Eli Amir, Eshkol Nevo, Etgar Keret, Zeruya Shalev, Yochi Brandes, Dorit Rabinyan, Alon Hilu, Nir Baram, Haggai Linik and others.
The festival will also include music and theater events, as well as the screening of a unique series of film adaptations of books written by some of the participating authors.
Who is Anat Nir ?
I am a social entrepreneur and publicist in Israel’s LGBT community for the past 13 years. At the age of 21 I opened “Makom”, one of the very first lesbian bars in Tel Aviv. Along with my business partner, Dana Ziv, under the brand “Dana ve Anat”, I organized numerous amount of lesbian events, becoming one of the leading and influential characters of Tel Aviv’s LGBT cultural sphere. Notwithstanding my growing business in the LGBT community, I became chief marketing officer of the “Feminanci” college, a unique academy aiming to financially empower women in the changing economy and advance equality between genders. I was nominated as co-director of the Tel Aviv Gay Vibe, a tourism campaign sponsored by Tel Aviv Municipality and the Ministry of Tourism. This international project includes global advertisement and international event production.
You are some sort of Party Queen, how long have you planned parties ?
A party queen sounds dazzling. I’ll go for it. If so, I hold this crown for 11 years now.
The level of products involved in Party promotion in Israel is impressive (Video Ads etc…) is it hard to up each initiative ?
The level of production and party promotion in Israel is very high. There are creative, fabulous, talented, professional, experienced, happy people within the party scene here who are a motivating force and an inspiration to me. My business partner, Dana Ziv and I love to reinvent ourselves. learn. develop.
Tel Aviv Nightlife is becoming bigger and bigger, what do you think is so special about TLV ?
The motto of Tel Aviv is “the city that never sleeps”, that explains a lot. Add the sun, an urban city on the Mediterranean sea, and the beautiful people and there you have it. I also believe that since life in this region is complicated that’s exactly when and the need to express and create grows.
You are very involved with Tel Aviv Gay Vibe, tell us about your involvement and the goals of the initiative
Tel Aviv Gay Vibe is a campaign we started 3 years ago, promoting LGBT tourism to Tel Aviv. I co-direct the project. The goal is simple – exposing the world to our wonderful gay city. In 2012 we aim to promote more lesbian tourism to Tel Aviv so that we have planned the year with many lesbian focused activities. We just got back from a European tour, 4 women parties in 5 days in which we took part with our DJ, video art, and information stand.
How would you describe Lesbian life in Israel? Is the nightlife comparable to other major cities?
In most communities and gay cities the lesbians are far behind the gay men. You have to develop detective-like skills to find activities, culture, and nightlife. In Tel Aviv you have the Tel Aviv Gay Vibe application free for download which lets you know of all the LGBT events available each and every day in the city.
Women have amazing activities all week long and parties during the weekend. After being around the world in many gay cities I can certainly say that Tel Aviv is a lesbian heaven! It is easy to walk, the weather is warm, the beach runs from north to south, we have a large, diverse lesbian community and beautiful women all over the city. And of course, the women parties are known to be from the best in the world.
I’ve recently read about a women only party with 14 women Israeli Djs, that sounds awesome, tell us about it.
Back in 2002 Dana and I started an event called SHE.J, exposing and promoting women DJs. We thought (and still think) that it’s a field of work in which women are not equal to men. We wanted to support amazing professional DJs in their way to success. And indeed many DJs who started their way with us are today leading the scene and after a decade of work there is no major party line in Tel Aviv that doesn’t have at least one female resident DJ. This party is growing from year to year and we love it at least as much as the crowd does.
Tel Aviv was recently named the top city of 2011 by Gaycities, you must be proud, what was your reaction ?
YES! After 3 years of hard work, international travels and promotion we finally did it. Tel Aviv is on the map. This news has got into every major communications chanel here and we are very proud. of course this means that this year is going to be full of LGBT incoming tourism which is our aim. Small city huge impact.
The fashion world is full of characters. There are few characteristics as distinguishing as Anna Wintour’s bob, Karl Lagerfeld’s sunglasses, and Grace Coddington’s red mane. Now, Italian illustrator, AleXsandro[cq] Palombo has transformed some of fashion’s most famous faces into ones we know much better—Homer and Marge Simpson. From Marc Jacobs to Alber Elbaz, here are the Simpsons as you’ve never seen them before.
Another achievement for Israeli cinema: Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s documentary, “The Law in These Parts,” has won the World Cinema Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the top gathering for independent movies made outside of Hollywood’s major studios.
The film, which won the Best Documentary award at the 2011 Jerusalem Film Festival, reviews Israel’s legal system in the West Bank from Alexandrowicz’s critical point of view.
It combines interviews with senior legal experts, including former Supreme Court President Meir Shamgar and former Judge and Military Advocate General Amnon Strashnov.
The film was praised during the festival, and Alexandrowicz was even invited to write an op-ed for the New York Times about the issue discussed in the documentary.
Top honors at Sundance were given to “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” a mythical film starring an eight-year-old girl, which won the grand jury prize in the US dramatic competition, and “The House I Live In”, about the war on drugs, which won the same honor in the US documentary category.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report