Northwest Fashionista

Israeli designer searches for ‘the perfect line’ for flattering styles

Ronen Chen is one of Israel’s most successful and internationally recognized designers. His label is sold in more than 400 boutiques throughout North America and Europe. While a limited Ronen Chen selection is available at Nordstrom, his new e-commerce site, RonenChen.com, will allow U.S. consumers to shop the entire collection for the first time.

Chen designs for women who want to feel confident, elegant and at ease. His love of architecture gives his collection a sleek, minimalist aesthetic filled with monochromatic colors and clean lines. His timeless designs are loved by all women because Chen fashions are not overtly trendy, and are sexy in an understated way.

In 1994 Chen opened his first boutique on Sheinkin Street in Tel Aviv, offering simple, sophisticated dresses. Chen’s designs, made in Israel, immediately resonated with the international consumer and he quickly began selling to European and North American boutiques and department stores. Now, with RonenChen.com he can expand the brand in the U.S. beyond the brick-and-mortar stores.

I had a chance to catch up with Chen this summer and ask him a few questions about his work and this new, exciting fashion site.

Catherine Garvin: What motivates and inspires you to create fashion?

Ronen Chen: I constantly research lines and shapes, and drapes. I’m on a never-ending search for the perfect line. I look for it everywhere, in nature, architecture, clothes and art. Somehow, when I work with fabric, the way I look at lines and shapes eventually translates into flattering styles that are simple, in the best possible sense of the word.

Garvin: What challenges do you face as a fashion designer to create from your own personal expression versus pop trends and styles?

Chen: My true love is simple lines and a monochromatic color palette, preferably black, beige and white. Sometimes, my personal preferences correspond with fashion, and sometimes fashion is busy, ornate and loud. The challenge is to find my language within the current trend.

Garvin: So who is Ronen Chen’s muse? How does she inspire your designs?

Chen: My customer is the same woman throughout the world, be it in Israel, UK, Europe or the U.S. She is confident and stylish, she appreciates design, and she wants chic and modern looks that are flattering and comfortable.

Catherine Garvin, fashion writer and playwright, writes about national fashion, Portland style and Portland music for www.examiner.com. Her fashion video series, “How I Found Myself in Vogue,” recreates million-dollar style for the ambitious woman who dresses to dazzle at home, work and play right from the closet. Check out her work at www.catherinegarvin.com.

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