When Dvora Braunstein lived in Israel, her American sister-in-law always asked her to bring clothing designed by Israelis as gifts on her visits. Braunstein knew the designers personally. If her sister-in-law was going on line to find the fashions she wanted, other women probably were doing the same thing. When Braunstein moved to the U.S. seven years ago, she decided that representing Israeli designers in this country could be a good business venture.
Braunstein has never looked back. “There were some designers represented here before I came,” she said. “When I opened a store in San Luis Obispo, a designer already represented here noticed that I was selling more than some stores in New York. I started representing her, and more designers came aboard.”
Today Braunstein, who calls her company MaBelle 2 – World Fashion, has a showroom in Los Angeles and does shows in New York, San Francisco and Dallas. Merchandise from the designers she represents is sold in such stores as Pomegranate in La Jolla and Koi in South Pasadena.
What distinguishes Israeli designers from others? Braunstein thinks the clothes are “more flowing, so that they are flattering to every woman’s body type.” She added that each item has an unexpected element. Clothing often combines different fabrics. Finally, she said, “Israeli designers are very creative, because they are influenced by avant garde designers in Europe.”
Sometimes Braunstein does special events, such as the fashion show she created for the Atid Group of Hadassah on April 24 at Temple Bat Yahm. Called the Israeli Fashion Fest, the event offered a look at some of the designers Braunstein represents.
Avivit Yizhar is a successful fashion designer worldwide. Her collection is inspired by her work as a sculptor. After working for Kedem Sasson, she started her own line. Braunstein described the collection as “casual with a twist.” It is higher priced, designer quality and flattering to all sizes, according to Braunstein. Fashionistas like this designer, because they are seeking individual style and fun, she added.
Frau Blau brings her graphic design background to her fashion designing in what the designer describes as a perfect mix of graphic arts and tailoring traditions. Using stretchy fabrics that flatter the body, she creates intriguing prints that change every season, Braunstein said.
Daniella Lehavi handbags and shoes complement the fashions with compelling looks in various styles. The design process expresses the relationship between the raw materials and the final product with sensitivity to materials, textures, colors and comfort. “People love the creativity,” Braunstein said.
What does Braunstein enjoy the most about her work? “I feel that I support the Israeli economy while living here,” she said. “By presenting Israeli fashion, I show a different side of Israel, one that fascinates Jews and non-Jews alike.”
A Good Cause Too
Proceeds from the Israeli Fashion Fest proceeds benefit Hadassah’s Heart Health ProgramTM at Hadassah Heart Institute, which pioneers new techniques for saving heart attack victims and investigating risk factors for heart disease, the number-one cause of death among women both in the U.S. and worldwide. Knowledge about screening, diagnosis and treatment for heart disease in women is fifty years behind what is known about heart disease in men. Dr. Chaim Lotan is an internationally recognized cardiologist who has pioneered heart health techniques used around the globe and is currently the Director of the Heart Health Institute at Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel.
Hadassah, one of the largest women’s organizations in America with over 330,000 members, has developed the groundbreaking heart health education program to empower women to become advocates in their own heart health. “Every Beat Counts” is the only comprehensive heart health program that works in-person to educate women on heart health.
The Hadassah Medical Organization’s Heart Institute is developing innovative new techniques for saving heart attack victims and replacing valves, researching risk factors for heart disease and playing a central role in promoting heart health. Using the groundbreaking research and methods from Hadassah’s Heart Institute, the “Every Beat Counts” program brings this information to women across the United States in an effort to reduce risks associated with heart disease. The institute was the first medical center to use a minimally invasive technique (trans-catheter implantation of aortic valves) to replace diseased heart valves in 2009.