Kedem Sasson creates one-size-fits-all pieces for the modern, average woman that compliments all body types and shapes.
You may recognize a few of the models strutting down the catwalk in a couple weeks.
These average-sized, ordinary women will be the stars of an Israeli fashion show at Millesime and Ligne Roset in Old City Sept. 21, called Kadima, by Israeli fashion designer Kedem Sasson.
But for Sasson, that’s also pretty typical of his garments.
Sasson creates one-size-fits-all pieces for the modern, average woman that compliments all body types and shapes.
He is also well known for hosting Project Runway Israel.
The Israeli American Council is the lead sponsor of the fashion show, in collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Jewish National Fund.
The show will also include an Israeli dance troupe and Middle Eastern food.
Part of the fashion show will be presented by real fashion models — about 20 designs will be showcased — but the fall collection will be debuted by about a dozen “real women.” The clothes worn by those women will be auctioned off, and the funds will be donated to a fashion or design graduate of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem to be put toward opening his or her own business.
Galit Carmely, owner of My Little Redemption in Old City, coordinated the event. She opened her business, which only stocks designer clothing from Israel, almost two years ago.
“I always knew I wanted to bring a designer from Israel for a fashion show,” she recalled. “The whole idea of my store is to give a platform to Israeli designers to put Israeli fashion out there.”
That’s especially true for Sasson, whose designs she said she fell in love with. She sells some of his garments in her store, and they are always the best-sellers.
From his dresses to tunics to trousers, “he’s very architectural in his style and very flowy,” said the Haifa native. “Everything is one size and it fits everybody amazingly. It doesn’t matter what kind of figure you have — how tall you are or what kind of body type — it just takes your body and works with it and makes you look amazing while being comfortable and stylish.”
His pieces often differ from popular trends, which is impressive for Israeli fashion that is known to be very “in your face.”
“[Israeli fashion] has style with a little bit of chutzpah. It’s timeless. It’s edgy,” said Carmely, who has lived in Philadelphia for about 14 years. “It always takes the trends one step further because Israelis want to succeed; they’re passionate to be the one and only. They come out with those amazing ideas and creations. They’re very motivated to succeed because Israel is so little, so if you really [want] to stand out, you really need to be different and creative.”
Carmely goes to Israel every three months to find the best apparel for her clients, some of whom are models in the fashion show.
“I really believe in the real thing and showcasing that women, not models, can wear his designs and look amazing,” she said.
For Carmely, who said she is 5-foot-2 and curvy, that’s really important.
So she often tries on all the clothes that she finds on her four visits a year.
“I pick and choose each of the garments that I bring. I go inside the studios of the designers and I don’t just buy a full collection from whatever they send online. I don’t buy exported collections. I buy the real things, the ones that are from Israel that are made in Tel Aviv,” she said.
That matters to Sasson, too.
“My clothes are very unique. I want to give a taste of Israel to the women of Philadelphia and show them that Israel also has a different atmosphere,” said Sasson, whose fashion show appearance will be his first visit to Philadelphia.
“I’m not trendy. I’m not a fashion designer that looks for trends. I look at fashion like I build a picture on women. It’s not, ‘I want trousers, I want shirts.’ I want to make a vision from my clothes.”
His clothes tend to be defined by flowy fabrics, eccentric cuts, bold colors, different shapes or geometric patterns to stand out from other Israeli designers.
He said he hopes when people see his collection at the fashion show, they will see clothing in a new light.
“When you see my clothes, you feel the lines, you feel the material,” he explained. “It’s culture. It’s architecture. This is the feeling that I want the people to see of the collection.”
Sasson received his inspiration to dress everyday women from his surroundings, but also from his ex-wife.
He said she was curvier than most of the clothes that were available in popular stores in Israel, so he wanted to create pieces that accommodated her.
“She’s my inspiration — I design for her. Even now after we are divorced, she is the best and the most inspiration for clothes.
“My inspiration is from everywhere,” he continued. “Sometimes it’s a culture, optical art, it’s even my day — to walk the street, see the people, use imagination. When I see a woman walk, I can imagine how can I design on her something that she has now but to continue with other fabrics. So I think it’s something from today and something from inspiration like culture or architecture.”
Although Israeli, Sasson wants to make it clear that his designs are not solely defined by where they were made or where he’s from.
The clothes are for the people.
“I am from Israel, but the collection is not from Israel — it’s from my mind. When you see the collection, it’s not Israel. … You are the owner of the collection when you see the collection.”
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