Photo: Isri Halpern. Design: Menusi-Benoish. Styling: Nurit Bat-Yaar

Photo: Isri Halpern. Design: Menusi-Benoish. Styling: Nurit Bat-Yaar
All Photos & contents in this blog are protected by copyrights.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nurit Bat-Yaar's, "Israel Fashion Art 1948-2008"' Author's Fashion Modeling Photos

Nurit Bat-Yaar in a 60s "Maskit" poster, seated among hand-woven rugs.

Nurit Bat-Yaar in the 60s orange-picking postcard taken by Hana Landes.

Nurit Bat-Yaar in a 60s ad for "Ets Ha-zait"

Nurit Bat-Yaar as a 60s cover-girl for La-Isha weekly magz. (Anna Landes, photo)
Nurit Bat-Yaar modeling for a  60s "Tseva" calander ad. Photo by Berger.
Hi, I'm often been asked how did I start my fashion journalism career and it all goes back to my having been a fashion and ads photography model. So this is how it all happened. My major interest was art and the idea of modeling never crossed my mind. Unlike today when many girls dream of a career in modeling, when I was a teenager there was no TV yet in Israel, I would see fashion shows only in the pre-movie news reels and the models there seemed much older-looking with their auntie-style hairdos.

One day, my father who had a studio in which he and his staff created olive-wood artifacts such as large decorative fruit bowls with the original-natural wood bark around them, desk pen-holders and other souvenirs from the holy-land, asked me if I'd be willing to take a small package of olive-wood buttons somewhere, since his delivery boy didn't show up that day. 

Little did I know that he would be sending me to Israel's leading fashion designer, "Maskit"'s Fini Leitersdorf, the creator of unique Israeli style and that the elongated olive-wood buttons were intended for her fabled hand-woven desert coats and duffel coats. Returning home, my parents reported to me that the designer had called them and expressed her wish I would become her model. I recalled those news-reel pre-movies fashion shows I had seen and said "Thanks, but no thanks!" I couldn't picture myself strolling like those aunties, seeing nothing common between them and me. 

About 6 months later "Maskit"'s Fini Leitersdorf called my parents again. This time she said she was opening the first "Maskit" modeling course. It would be a very exclusive course taught to girls that only she or Noa Eshkol (daughter of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol) who would teach movement know personally. My mother said: "You don't necessarily have to become a model, but taking the course might contribute to your stature etc." I finally agreed to join with one condition, that I wouldn't be obliged to wear stiletto heels or wear lipstick (in those days I preferred  eye make-up with the younger look of natural lips). Fini responded by saying that at "Maskit" you could even model barefoot.

While attending the modeling course, I also studied fashion illustration with Riki Ben-Ari. At the end of the modeling course, there was a press fashion show. "La-isha" weekly magz. wrote about me: "She resembles Brigitte Bardot said the viewers when Nurit passed by them". In "The Jerusalem Post" they wrote: Among the most promising models is the blond girl Nurit". "Haolam Haze" weekly mag. made a very nice "Girl of the week" item about me. In no time, Fini's friend opened a modeling agency and told me I have many photography modeling offers awaiting for me. I gave it a try, and found out it to be more enjoyable than what I had thought, and have decided to give it a go. At the same time I was attending Fini Leitersdorf's studio and serving as her in-house model on whom she created some of her most stunning creations.  

At one point, after an orange-picking postcard of mine became a big hit among U.N soldiers stationed in the Gaza strip who received it with their Israeli Foreign Office sent Christmas presents - Eli Tavor of "Haolam Haze" came to interview me about it. After discussing my modeling career as those days' most sought-after photography model - Eli asked me what else interested me. At this point, I showed him my fashion illustrations and was invited to a meeting with the mag. editor-in-chief Uri Avneri who suggested I present him with a trial page about fashion and life-style. I called it "Cherchez La Femme." And the rest is history.

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