Monday, June 23, 2008
Looking good is important in Tel Aviv. This flies straignt in the face of the very confusing image of the rough and schlumpy Israeli woman. The image that Israeli women tried to portray in the 1950's was of pioneering all can do superwoman. Milk the cows in the morning, raise the kids in the day, guard the border at night. But the city reality of Israeli women was a little different. Fashion and beauty supplies came with Europeans very early on. Whatever Israeli women could not afford local companies made here. Jump forward 50 years to 2008 and the Israeli woman, a mix of every imaginable culture is very much interested in fashion and beauty. There are a dozen Israeli beauty supply companies, some with international reputation. Ahava started out as a Dead Sea specialty company, and Jade is well knows here but a bit of a 'hidden secret' outside Israel.
A crema counter with samples and plenty to buy.
Let's face it, Tel Aviv is not considered a fashion center. I would say YET! But if you are a woman, this city is nothing to laugh about. It's true that most Israeli designers have looked elsewhere to develop their careers and their businesses. But women still want to look beautiful and there is plenty of products and services to help them. In the beginning of June Tel Aviv hosted a Beauty City 2008 fair. About 30 makeup, hair, and fashion companies gathered at the Tel Aviv fairgrounds and showed off their "product". It turned out to be a mix between a fashion show and a 50% off sale. Let's face it, these little bottles of beauty don't come cheap. Some of the names in the makeup category: Estee Lauder, Lancome, Hugo Boss, Jade, Revlon, Ahava, L'Oreal, and Dove. In the hair section: Wella, Pantene, Nivea, Shuki Zikri, and Gillette.
The big practical attraction was the 50% discount on almost everything on display. This is a big deal for women who like good products but don't like to pay the high prices. The more expensive products from Estee Lauder, Shisheido, Lancome, and Jeanne Piaubert were discounted a little less, but still 20% to 30% was offered.
Beautiful in design, the Revlon booth.
The fair also offered a fashion show every hour or two. Cloths from Gucci, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, and Dolce & Gabbana were on display worn by about 25 young models. Beuty City 2008 showed also how Israel has grown up in the fashion and beauty area. There are still many international brands who consider this market small and in transition. This is simply the phase Israeli women are going through, both economically and culturally. But the women here definitely want to look and be seen as beautiful. So when the late comers look back at 2008 they may regret not making Israeli women beautiful today. But that again is just a speculation on the future.