Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Checking in With Tel Aviv Couture

Posted By on 12.15.10 at 04:06 PM

Tali Kogan of Tel Aviv Couture

In the three years since Tali Kogan started Tel Aviv Couture, her River North showroom for Israeli designers, it's become a success: selling women's clothing and accessories through special events, fashion shows, and one-on-one appointments, the Israeli native (she's originally from Ukraine) built up a dedicated clientele as well as a steady list of designers. Customers are drawn by the soft fabric, flattering shapes, and dramatic cuts and flourishes, not to mention the reasonable costs (most clothing runs from $100 to $300).

But a major key to her business's success is Kogan herself, whose lively, friendly, and down-to-earth presence renders the intimidation factor essentially nil. Kogan knew she didn't want to open a boutique or hire salespeople, which would dilute her strongest marketing advantage: herself. Instead, she's expanding her online presence to an e-commerce website that, in a preview, looked super-sleek and professional. Eventually she'd like to offer housewares, art, and other items to become a kind of department store for Israeli artists, designers, and artisans.

She's also added some new designers to her roster. Sigal Dekel is well-known in Israel, where she creates five or six small collections a year and has several dedicated boutiques. including one in New York. Like a lot of other designers in her country, she uses soft materials and flowing shapes in deference to the hot climate, but Kogan thinks her line will have even more appeal to Americans thanks to slightly more fitted pieces and a wider size range, from XXS to XXL.

A current look from Sigal Dekel, available through Tel Aviv Couture
  • A current look from Sigal Dekel, available through Tel Aviv Couture

Under the name Zaya, Avital Coorsh creates leather jewelry in organic shapes that look like metal—a boon especially in hot, humid weather.

Leather fortune cookie earrings by Zaya
  • Leather fortune cookie earrings by Zaya

Rubber scarves by Frog Atara de Lange are unusual, tactile pieces created by a former costume designer.

Rubber scarf by TKTKTK

The new site, which will be located at the current URL (telvavivcouture.com), will probably launch later this month. "I would have liked to get it done before the holidays," said Kogan, shrugging, "but what can you do?"

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