Layla Lavan: fashion, music, culture

March 17, 2011

Text by David Weisz.

Photos by Caleb Fleisher.

Anyone who’s ever been to Israel knows that Israelis know how to party. Last Sunday’s Layla Lavan 2011 fashion show was no exception.

Organized by Hillel of Greater Toronto, Layla Lavan was hosted at On The Rox, a concert venue/nightclub located at Dufferin and Steeles (quite literally straggling the border between North York and York Region). Having been to On The Rox before, I was  interested to find out as to how it would handle a fashion show, but these fears were quickly allayed once I arrived. The normally dark nightclub atmosphere had been transformed into a brightly lit marketplace, where guests could browse and purchase jewelry and other crafts from Israeli retail stores. Within an hour the venue was quickly packed, with floor space becoming as increasingly coveted as the Israeli wares on display. Thankfully, the complimentary samples of Israeli wine kept everyone suitably viscous.

In addition to the retail booths, a number of Israeli-themed paintings and photographs were also on display. Local artist Laura Windman’s black and white acrylic-on-canvas paintings were particularly stunning, with the detail of each piece accentuated by the starkly muted palette.

The fashion show was the main event of the evening. Organized almost entirely by Ryerson University undergraduate students, the volunteer-run show featured clothing and jewelry from a number of different designers, including Sigal Dekel, Rina Zin, Ronen Chen and Kedem Sasson (who are collectively known as Shenkin West), Marge Designs and Roots Canada.

At the conclusion of the fashion show guests were treated to musical performances by Israeli bands Eatliz and Automatic Toys, and other performers with an Israeli influence. All in all, Layla Lavan 2011 captured the kinetic energy and cultural pride that Israel is known for – and considering that it was almost entirely run by volunteers from Toronto and the GTA, that’s quite an impressive feat.

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