When we think of the world’s fashion capitals, the list goes something like this: Milan, Paris, London, New York – and Holon? Maybe that last one doesn’t make it onto many people’s couture maps; however, Eyal De Leeuw and his fellow directors of the Design Museum Holon are aiming to change that fact as soon as possible. Earlier this year, the center put on the very successful Design Week, which had similar goals – to gain recognition for the museum and the city as part of the international design community.

“We are strengthening Holon as the design capital of Israel,” said De Leeuw.

This month, the Mediatheque Cultural Center will host Holon and Israel’s first Fashion Week. The event will take place throughout the center with film screenings at the Cinematheque, an international symposium and master classes at the museum and a fashion show on the grounds. For De Leeuw, this development in the center’s programming is a natural and needed progression.

At present, De Leeuw is one of the most well-respected fashion experts in Israel. His website, Ha Garconniere, which specializes in men’s fashion, has gotten the attention of readers around the world. De Leeuw explains that the seeds for this international craze were planted in a few e-mails, sent back and forth between himself and HaGarconniere partner Shahar Shalev. The two were interested in the masculine side of the industry and began to send each other links to websites that inspired them.

From there, they developed the blog, which is a strong voice in the local fashion scene.

In 2010, after significant renovations, the Design Museum Holon finally opened its doors. De Leeuw’s expertise in the area won him an important role in the budding museum’s development. Beyond his role as director of international relations, De Leeuw is the artistic director of Fashion Week. As part of this job, De Leeuw is responsible for extending invitations to designers and critics from abroad to take part in a panel in the international conference. For the past three years, De Leeuw has organized and facilitated the international fashion conference, which draws world-renowned members of the industry to Holon to discuss challenges they face in their daily work and larger questions of the future of fashion.

The topic of this year’s conference, the meeting between digital advancement and fashion, is of particular significance to De Leeuw, as his success is due in part to the rich online fashion community.

“We chose a topic,” explained De Leeuw, “a committee and I. The topic is the meeting between fashion and digital, which connects to a return to handcraft. We are focusing on how this influences marketing and design. We chose the guests according to the topic.”

This year’s roster includes famed designer Zac Posen and acclaimed fashion writer Stephanie LaCava. “Not everyone that we wanted to invite was free to attend; but overall, attracting guests was not an issue. There is something about the museum and the meeting of fashion and design. The museums pulls a lot of important people in,” said De Leeuw.

One of the most exciting elements of Fashion Week for De Leeuw is the film program at the Cinematheque.

Focusing on the intersection of film and fashion, this initiative will host films from around the world such as Alexandra McGuinness’s Lotus Eaters; The Tents, a documentary about New York Fashion Week; and Eva Ionesco’s My Little Princess.

“I come from a background of film,” said De Leeuw.

“The meeting of fashion and film and the special symposium on fashion and film and the workshops are going to be a big hit, I think.”

Fashion Week will run between October 24 and 28 at the Mediatheque Cultural Center in Holon. For more information, visit www.mediatheque.org.il.

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