Design Museum Holon, the first museum in Israel dedicated to design, has opened its “most ambitious” fashion exhibition spanning the entire museum.
‘The Ball’ open until December 11, is billed as a multi-sensory theatrical experience, combining fashion, sound, music, scenery, and lighting to showcase how dresses from the past resonate with current eveningwear design.
The exhibition marks the museums largest fashion display to date featuring around 170 pieces and explores the relationship between fashion, dreams and escapism while forging connections between the history of balls, Western fashion, and the current creations of Israel’s leading designers.
Commenting on devising the exhibition theme, Maya Dvash, chief curator of Design Museum Holon, said in a statement: “When developing this theme, we wanted to go beyond the traditional fashion exhibition presentation and form a new language that allows the visitors to feel as if they are both spectators and participants. The immersive world we created in this exhibition engages visitors in such a way that they cannot remain indifferent.
“The exhibition raises questions concerning Israeli fashion, culture and society and the dialog they maintain with lavish ball dresses originating from Europe. ‘The Ball’ looks at past and present-day fashion, exploring the complexities woven into the longing for opulence and escapism. Throughout history, while balls were often reserved for the elite, fairytales provided a gateway into a world of imagination, overcoming social divides and barriers. Through a creative dialogue between the fantastic and the real, the exhibition invites visitors to explore the role of fashion and escapism in everyday life.”
Israel’s Design Museum Holan opens ‘The Ball’ fashion exhibition
The exhibition displays approximately 120 ball gowns representing both historical and contemporary designs, including Galia Lahav, Alon Livne, Hilla Cohen, Orwa Shareef, Moni Mednik, Lia Fattal, Victor Vivi Bellaish, Gadi Elimelech, Tatiana Davidov (Studio Tiamanta), Lihi Hod, and Shahar Avnet.
Alongside the gowns, there are also around 50 accessories created especially for the exhibition by Israel’s leading designers, including a display of glass Cinderella slippers printed in 3D and a collection of hats inspired by desserts.
Ya’ara Keydar, the exhibition’s curator, added: “Currently, Israel is home to hundreds of bridal and evening-wear designers who garner international success, and no less than one-quarter of the designers participating in the New York Bridal Fashion Week are Israeli. While Israeli style is synonymous with simple, comfortable, everyday clothes, the local fashion industry has embraced ball gowns as one of its primary products.
“The impressive reach of Israel’s eveningwear industry reflects a local sensibility centred on love, and perhaps also a deep and powerful need for celebrations and parties, as an escape from everyday life, placing significant importance on celebrating the moment. The exhibition ‘The Ball’ is dedicated to fashion’s ability to transport us into a magical world in which anything is possible, if only for one night. Dreams are accessible to us all, together with the hope for a happy ending.”
‘The Ball’ fashion exhibition at Design Museum Holan runs to December 11, 2021
Highlights include the ‘Modern Ball: Israeli Couture’ section looking at Israel’s eveningwear industry, featuring vividly coloured dresses designed by Alon Livne worn by Lady Gaga and Katy Perry and a dress sewn from 15,000 old Israeli coins designed by Shai Shalom.
Other striking designs include Ninet Tayeb’s wedding dress, designed by Victor Vivi Bellaish and Gadi Elimelech, colourful tulle dresses designed by Shahar Avnet, a digitally printed wedding dress designed by Lihi Hod and printed by Kornit Digital, as well as a modest, ultra-Orthodox gown by Brurya Haritan.
The ‘Re-sewing the History of the Ball’ gallery features specially-made historical reconstructions created from off-white cotton muslin by Moni Mednik, designer and senior lecturer at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art. These historically accurate reconstructions demonstrate the dramatic changes in the design of ball gowns and eveningwear from the 18th century to the 1980s.
The exhibition also features two projects by Orwa Shareef, whose work combines imagination and creativity with optimistic messages. An ultra-long Cinderella’s Story Veil with embroidery related to the fairytale and a gown designed for a bridal ball, a traditional event in Arab cultures. The dress has the Arabic words Al-hubb deeni (Love is my religion) woven across the train, reflecting the liberal spirit of the bride’s family towards religion.
The Peripheral Corridor features ‘Heart of Glass: A Journey in the Footsteps of Cinderella’s Shoes’ that traces the cultural incarnations of Cinderella’s slipper from ninth-century China to futuristic thoughts about the princess in both feminine and masculine forms, using 3D-printed models. Placing the models on a timeline presents a history of the imagination of what Cinderella possibly looked like in the minds of children and adults during different time periods.
This sits alongside a Cinderella-inspired gown by Idit Barak, a designer and senior lecturer at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, which explores the relationship between fashion and technology. For the ‘11:59 PM’ gown, Barak uses 10,000 meters of fibre optics to create thousands of light specks glimmering in the darkness of the Margalit Gallery to form the silhouette of an opulent ball gown.
The exhibition ends with the ‘The Whipped-Cream Room and the Mad Hatter’ featuring work by milliner Maor Zabar and the pastry chef Alon Shabo. The display centres on a 12-foot-high cake, on which dessert-inspired hats are displayed alongside sculptures of macaroon towers, wedding cakes, multitiered cakes and cookies, all handmade from 500 pounds of sugar, almond powder, cement, and Styrofoam.