Though Elizabeth Taylor never made it over to model an Israeli-made caftan, the Washington Hilton ballroom was a sea of Ultrasuede and challis yesterday as 800 guests attended the annual All-Israel Fashion Festival.
The fashion luncheon, organized by the Women's Division of the State of Israel Bonds, was no doubt the most expensive meal (kosher quiche) in town - admission was only to those to have bought a least $500 worth of Israel Bonds since July of this year.
As a result of yesterday's event, $410,000 was raised for Israel, it was announced. (The bond money is to be used to develop industry, agriculture, highway transportation and new sources of energy. Plus, as one lady put it, the bonds "make great bar mitzvah gifts")
The collection of Israeli-made clothing presented in the show is currently traveling through 60 cities in the United States and Canada. It was coordinated for yesterday's program by Saks Fifth Avenue, whose Chevy Chase fashion director, Vashti Mays, provided the commentary. Included were styles from well-known Israeli manufacturers like Gottex, makers of colorful beachwear, Beged. Or, known for suede and leather designs, and Rikma, creators of heavy cotton striped ethnic looks.
Also included were designs from Maskit, the center for Israeli folk arts and crafts. One of the designers is Jenifer native now living in Tel Aviv who was at "the show, despite, she said, spending the morning tied up in a closet while burglars ransacked the Northwest home of her grandfather. "I feel much safer in Israel, even with a war going on," she said.
Israel exported $200 million in fashions in 1976, much of it to the United States.
Guests at the luncheon, whose honorary chairman was Vivian Dinitz, wife of the Israeli ambassador, included Colene Brown (wife of Secretary of Defense Harold Brown), Helen Burns (wife of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Arthur Burns) and 30 embassy wives.
There were also 12 "celebrity" modles during the show, including Adele Alexander, Vicki Bagley, Nary Sasser (wofe of Sen.JAdele Alexander, Vicki Bagley, Nary Sasser (wife of Sen. Jer Redskin Walter Rock, looking visibly uncomfortable in his outfit.
Jean Sisco was the only model wearing something made in Israel (a dress ensemble by Fini Leitersdorf). The rest wore designer evening clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue, except for Pat Mitchell, who got the biggest round of applause for the day with a mink coat.