Israeli designer Yifat Jovani's looks tap Tel Aviv style

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      Israeli designer Yifat Jovani is bringing the streets of Tel Aviv to Vancouver with her self-named line of women’s clothing that captures the essence of the city she’s from.

      “Fashion in Tel Aviv reminds me a lot of European fashion,” says Jovani, who’s been based in Vancouver for the past nine years, selling her designs through a number of local retailers and more recently in Portland, Oregon. “I like the way they mix colour in Tel Aviv and play with fabrics. It’s very playful.”

      The warm climate and beach culture of her native city, where she studied fashion design and which she returns to often, influence her style in clothing that transitions easily from day to night.

      “I like to dress,” Jovani says. “So for me I don’t like clothing that is only good for specific events—weddings or whatever it is—I like clothes I can wear during the day that are also good for parties or going for cocktails.”

      To achieve this, Jovani’s pieces, which include dresses, skirts, jackets, and pants, are designed to be comfortable and versatile, without sacrificing style. The approach is evident in her Eilat tunic ($128), which hugs the body in a way both sexy and flattering, while remaining casual, and also in her Shabazi tunic ($158), designed to be worn in a few ways and flattering to all body types. Jovani’s Shafa dress ($169) is bolder in its use of colour and her Amore dress ($145) is for those after something more flirty and playful.

      The Shabazi tunic.
      Angela Fama

      “It’s important for me that every woman who wears my clothes feels good, feels her best, just as she is,” she says. “Whether she works in an office all day or is an at-home mom, whatever her lifestyle and whatever she’s doing in her busy life I want her to feel comfortable and look fabulous, and it doesn’t matter if she’s a size 2 or 12.”

      The comfort factor is helped along by the fabrics Jovani uses.

      “I try as much as possible to use natural fabric because I believe it’s important to try not to damage the environment and I love, love, love bamboo,” she says. “It feels really good, and that’s why women love it.”

      Jovani says her design inspiration comes from the strong women she knows, as well as patterns and colours in nature and urban landscapes, and those in her industry like Israeli designer Daphna Levinson, who’s known for designing clothing that emphasizes and complements “the body of the Israeli woman”.

      Jovani says her family had a huge influence on her becoming a designer: artistic parents—her father was a metalworker and her mother was a painter—and a Yemeni grandfather who made clothes for a living before immigrating to Israel.

      “I was also very lucky to have a tailor as my neighbour,” Jovani says. “So when I started drawing designs for my dolls, my mom would buy the fabrics and [my neighbour] would create the things I desired from these.”

      Jovani is now expanding her selection to include more woven fabrics and hues, she says, in response to a change she’s noticed in this city in women embracing more colour.

      “I now dare to use more colours that I love, and there’s been a good response from my clients,” she says.

      Yifat Jovani clothing can be found at Tenth & Proper (4483 West 10th Avenue) and Fine Finds Boutique (1014 Mainland Street), among other shops, as well as online.