When a woman walks into Millos, she is greeted by name and is cheerfully asked about her children, grandchildren or most recent trip abroad. She is often also met with a rack of clothing pulled for her by one of the store’s skilled stylists. If it’s a coffee she’s after or a pastry, that too will be offered.
“Our customers are always bringing in cakes and chocolates for us,” laughs Millos co-owner Havy Goloss. “Sometimes they will come in just to have coffee and a chat, without buying anything. We love that.”
The Millos Fashion House shopping experience is a rare one in the Israeli landscape.
Located in the City Garden (Gan Ha’ir) in central Tel Aviv, Millos boasts exclusive collections by 10 leading international labels such as Escada Sport, Piazza Sempione, Paule Ka and Laurel. Owners Goloss and Lily Miller handpick the items each season, catering perfectly to the local climate and clientele.
Seated on a long white sofa at the back of the store, Goloss talks about her longtime affair with the fashion industry. Next to her sits Marika Asaf, head of styling for Millos.
Goloss is wearing pastels, while Asaf is clad in black leather, accented by heavy black eyeliner. The two fall perfectly in step, completing sentences and filling in blanks for each other.
“Fashion is born, not learned,” says Goloss. “My family was engaged in textiles. I went to study computer sciences, but I always felt drawn to fashion. Lily’s family were also in fashion.”
Goloss immigrated to Israel from Uruguay at age 12. Her flawless Hebrew is tinged with a Spanish hue. On her left wrist dangle four golden charms in the shape of children.
“Each one is for a grandchild,” she smiles.
As the main buyer for Millos, Goloss keeps several elements in mind.
“I know the Israeli climate, the customers and the culture. I always try to choose items that will surprise but also suit my clients,” she says.
Along with popular names such as Versace, Goloss brings lesser-known brands like the French Chacok and the German Rena Lange.
“The German brands are great for taller women and plus-size figures, while the French labels do great prints and color,” she says.
Over the years, Millos has been able to broaden the horizons of its collection.
Where once hung purely black or white garments, today there are bright blues and lemon yellows.
“When I came to Israel 20 years ago, there wasn’t much awareness of fashion,” explains Asaf. “Women wore a lot of solids in very basic colors. Over the years, as the world opened up, Israeli women really learned how to dress up. Now we can introduce a lot more color and prints than we once did, and our customers go for it.”
Asaf immigrated from Germany and is part of what Goloss refers to as her international staff.
“One of the strengths of our staff is that they speak many languages,” says Goloss.
“A customer can come here and receive service in French, Italian, Russian, English, German or Hebrew. Even though our core clients are Israeli, it’s important to me that we are able to communicate easily with tourists,” she explains.
“I’ve been working here for more than two decades,” says Asaf. “It’s part of who I am.
Each of us has her customers that she knows well. A lot of them will call us ahead so that we can arrange the right pieces for them to try on.”
As the store’s head stylist, Asaf holds regular classes with the staff about successful styling and window dressing.
“Marika teaches the staff how to dress women, how to hang the clothes and how to pick and style the right outfit,” says Goloss. “The experience here is beyond shopping. It’s about knowing the women and finding what makes them feel and look their best. All women want to look young and beautiful. When we find the right look, it’s very rewarding.”
In addition to styling services, Millos offers free in-house alterations.
“We have two seamstresses who are experts in altering high-fashion garments,” Goloss explains. “We are very interested in helping our customers build a smart closet, which means taking a small amount of clothing and making an entire versatile wardrobe. That means finding the right fit and the right pieces that can go day to night.”
The majority of the staff at Millos has been working there for more than two decades. With the small turnover in salespeople, customers are able to build relationships with the women of Millos.
For the most part, the clientele is between 40 and 70 years old and of a particularly high socioeconomic standing. Prices at Millos range from several hundred shekels for basics to thousands for evening gowns. Each look is imported from Europe, one per size and color, ensuring the customers local exclusivity. Millos is located on the ground floor of 71 Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv. For more information, visit www.millos.co.il.