Americans don't usually associate Israel with fashion and style, but that could soon change.
The inaugural Tel Aviv Fashion Week kicked off on Nov. 20, where an appearance from designer Roberto Cavalli boosts its chances of getting on the international fashion map.
Cavalli will show his spring 2012 collection on Monday, after debuting it on the Milan runways in October and since being spotted on the red carpet by the likes of Kristen Stewart during her Breaking Dawn promotions.
All the other scheduled designers are among the biggest in Israel, showcasing various modes representative of the country like high class evening wear (Shai Shalom), 1980s-style streetwear (Sugar Daddy), European charm mixed with chic boho (Pas Pour Toi, by Israeli actress and designer Dorit Bar' Or) and some Rick Owens crossed with Balmain military tailoring (Persy).
Cavalli was feted during his Sunday night arrival a cocktail party for he and his wife, Eva, at the Ramat Gan home of the Italian Ambassador. As with any Hollywood party, it was filled with a mix of luxury retailers, social fashionistas, photographers and reporters, including a flock of international journalists from the U.S., Britain, Mexico, Russia and Japan.
"I'm hoping that Tel Aviv fashion week will show the world the Israel that I love," said Cavalli. "It's a beautiful city full of life with people full of life who enjoy fashion and culture just like Europeans, Americans, the Japanese... I'm happy I could support this new venture by showing in Tel Aviv."
Cavalli was, of course, treated like the rock star, with journalists fighting to get near him -- particularly after he decided to attend the Monday morning show of designer Shai Shalom.
Tickets to the Cavalli show became scarce weeks ago, as the tent at the Habatana train station area near Jaffa, where it's being held, can only hold a capacity of around 600.
One local commented, "I've never known people in Tel Aviv to jockey to get into a fashion show before. You would think Cavalli was George Clooney."
Well, at Tel Aviv fashion week, he is.