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The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

A Neighbourhood Affair

This season, Ariel and Shimon Ovadia looked to the streets of their childhood for inspiration.
Ovadia & Sons Autumn/Winter 2016 | Source: Courtesy
By
  • Lauren Sherman

NEW YORK, United States — Consistency in fashion is tricky. Stay too close to what you've done in the past and things start to get stale. Stray too far away from your original declaration and run the risk of confusing or alienating those who took an interest in the first place.

It's hard to track twin brothers Ariel and Shimon Ovadia's progression, given how different their work looks now compared to a few years ago, even if it's still rooted in good tailoring. What was once natty and buttoned-up is now free-flowing and street-inspired. Some of it has to do with a seachange in men's fashion that is bigger than this one brand. But most of it seems connected to a shift in their personal aesthetic.

There is one message that hasn't changed, however. This company is a family affair and this gives the clothes heart. This season, the brothers referenced the garments worn by Hasidic Jewish men in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where they were raised, and combined it with what they saw hanging out with skaters and taggers in Manhattan. "The coexistence of cultures in New York," Ariel said. A rich-looking silk jacquard bekishe — a traditional, formal overcoat — was worn with creepers, while zipper pulls on a double-faced shearling bomber were akin to tzitzit, the tassels that many observant Jews wear hanging from their trousers. Embroidered silk souvenir tops, tunics and lounge pants were shown alongside hefty, military-inspired officer coats and anoraks.

A novelty sweater embroidered with "Ovadia Neighborhood Watch," inspired by Flatbush's very own network of concerned citizens, added a bit of early 1990s nostalgia to the mix and will certainly pique the interest of clients who grew up in that era and revel in irony. It had a self-assurance that a bouclé turtleneck with elongated, exaggerated sleeves didn't. The piece stood out as an unnecessary overture in a collection otherwise filled with great little details, from the covered buttons on a leather jacket to the white speckles on black cashmere crewneck. But what was was clear, more than anything, is that these guys know how to make beautiful clothes. And that's something.

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