Keepers of the Lost Dress

by Eyal de Leeuw | 27.11.17


Plastic shoe by Customcraft, 1953-1956

The Rose Archive is a unique research and learning center situated in Shenkar College for Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan. It houses Israel’s only collection dedicated to the study of fashion and textile as a social-cultural phenomenon. It all started from a donation of designer garments given to Shenkar by the Fashion Institute of Technology. From this point forward, Shenkar began collecting donations of clothing and textiles for the magical place known today as Rose Archive.

We met Tal Amit, Rose Archive’s manager, as their new website (in Hebrew only for now) has just been launched, which is a good enough reason to dig for some treasures from the lost art of fashion.


Hi Tal, can you tell us what did you do before your position at the archive?
After graduating from Shenkar’s Fashion Design department, I started working as a children’s wear designer for a short period. From that experience, I realized that although I love reading, watching and diving into fashion, I didn’t like the actual designing of it. So I decided to strengthen my natural love for research and joined the small team of Design Museum Holon. While working there, I studied for an M.A in fashion research. Once the former manager of the archive retired, and this amazing job was available, I jumped at it with both hands, knowing it will be my dream job.

How many items do you have in the collection?
In the collection, we have over 3,000 fashion garments and accessories by local and international top designers, dating between the 18th and the 21st centuries. In addition, we have about 7,000 textiles dating from Pre-Colombian era until today that are available by request for examination and study. Also in the collection are traditional clothing and textile, showcasing the handcrafts and local motifs of different people and cultures around the world both machine and handmade.

What is the mission of the archive? How do you know what to bring in, what is considered archive worthy?
The Archive’s mission and the thought behind taking in new garments is to collect, preserve and keep key objects from the history of material culture. To give people the ability to view the way textile and fashion history influences today’s society and designers, and the way it was influenced by economic, political and social changes. Not only that, but also to give students, researchers, and designers the opportunity to see and examine original techniques, structures and patterns of garments and textiles from past and recent times.

What can we expect from the new archive’s website?
The Rose Archive website was made possible thanks to a generous donation from Mifal Hapais, The Israeli National Lottery. The work on the Archive’s website was a complexed one. Since we couldn’t find an on-the-shelf product that satisfied all our needs, we had to create our own site from scratch. Designed by Ben Ben Horin and programmed by BOA, the archive is an ongoing project that still isn’t finished. In the future, there will be an archive blog, where you will be able to read the stories of some of the items and also a category on the site where you will be able to see themed curated collections from the archive. Although the website is currently only in Hebrew we plan to program a parallel site in English for our followers abroad. However, the website is not alone! We also have an active Instagram page in English and they both showcase the treasures you can find in the archive.

Are you open to receiving donations from the public? What are you looking for?
The archive is a donations based collection. All the items here were donated by either designers or private individuals, so needless to say we are very much open for donations. We are looking for garments that define an era, trend or time. Examples of a few general garments that we will be happy to receive: Hard Rock Café Tel Aviv t-shirts, vintage 501 Levis, 70s flares, 90s flannel shirts, end of the 90s-beginning of the 2000s super low cut jeans, 80′ one piece sportswear bodysuits. Not to mention anything by top local or international designers. As the core collector of international and local textile material, the archive plays an active role in today’s Israeli cultural world and collaborates with top local museums such as The Israel Museum and Tel Aviv Museum of Art. So you might even see your donations in an exhibition! If you have something you think about donating you can email us at or call 03-6110061.

We have asked Tal to choose 5 items that represent Rose Archive at its best, it wasn’t easy task she said, but here is her list of favorites:

1. Lola Beer is considered the first Israeli couturier, and as such, she dressed the top women of Israel’s society. From politicians wives to artists, lawyers, doctors and international philanthropies. You can see her design skills through this wonderful dress (that back!) designed for Mrs. Miriam Eshkol, wife of Israel’s 3rd Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, for an official state visit to Africa in 1966.


2. In a 1970s collection inspired by Israeli artist Yaakov Agam, designer Roji Ben Yosef shows her love for colors and local motifs. Mixing the Jewish art world with Arab patterns and silhouettes, she managed to create a unique fashion that succeeded worldwide. This collection recently got a modern twist, when the stylist of Amazon’s series “Transparent” decided to dress transgender star Maura Pfefferman in this caftan (see below).



3. An 1985-1986 magnificent, crazy, outrageous, over the top evening gown by Marc Bohan for Christian Dior. With deep emerald green color, Silk taffeta swish sound, and voluminous ruffles, this dress always gets an amazing reaction from visitors coming to the archive.


4. One of the wonderful examples of the way fashion, materials and social conventions changed throughout the years is this fun 1967 bikini and robe ensemble. With big golden sequins, this showstopper bikini is not for the faint-hearted.


5. One of the best qualities of Israel’s design scene is the ability to improvise with the materials you have on hand. The case of these 1940-1945 clogs is no different. In need for bath slippers for the public showers at the Kibbutz, this creative unknown designer made simple practical clogs out of a piece of wood and a rubber tire.

24A | Instagram: @rose_archive

Photo credit: Lee Barbu.


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