Zandra Rhodes Among 100 Fashion Figures at Event Against Antisemitism – WWD

Posted By on March 21, 2024

SPEAKING OUT, AND EATING: Some 100 British fashion figures including Zandra Rhodes, David Sassoon, Solange Azagury-Partridge, Suzy Menkes, Caroline Burstein and Caroline Rush gathered at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in London on Saturday morning for a religious and social event hosted by Fashion & Beauty Against Antisemitism.

Cohosts Deborah Lyons and Mandi Lennard called it a special fashion kiddush, and after a morning of prayers, guests spilled into the synagogues reception hall to graze on traditional foods, including honey cake, cholent and latkes, fish balls and mini-bagels with chopped herring.

In between eating, hugging and discussing the state of the industry guests listened to Tracy-Ann Oberman, the British actress whos playing Shylock in The Merchant of Venice 1936, in Londons West End, talk about Shakespeares controversial play.

Oberman, whod read The Merchant of Venice as schoolgirl, described it as hateful and horrible. Thats why she was so eager to take on the role of Shylock, and reshape the character entirely into a Jewish matriarch.

The actress, a familiar face on TV and the first British actress to play Shylock, said she called on generations of strong women in her family to inform her role in the play, which is set in East London in the 1930s.

It was a time when the British Union of Fascists were terrorizing the East End, attacking and intimidating Jewish residents but the people, the working class, the Irish, the trade unions, the ordinary heroes stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Jews, and defended them, Oberman said.

Benji Park, a fashion influencer, served as master of ceremonies, and reminded the crowd that Jews formed the foundations of the fashion or schmatta industry. He urged guests to attend the Fashion City exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands, which highlights the contribution of Jewish designers in turning London into a fashion city.

Lyons said: Its been an incredibly tough few months, contrasted by a tremendous sense of togetherness. We hope this kiddush will be an opportunity to amplify that sense of solidarity and bring some much-needed light to all of us.

She founded Fashion & Beauty Against Antisemitism last year following a wave of antisemitic crimes in the U.K. in the wake of the Oct. 7 terror attack in Israel.

As reported, Lyons drafted a petition denouncing antisemitism and urging people in the industry to speak for peace, or keep quiet. The letter attracted more than 1,000 signatories including Donna Karan, Bobbi Brown, Steven Klein, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Carine Roitfeld, Bar Refaeli and Rachel Zoe.

Lyons is also the founder of the labelMaison Lyonsand cofounder ofLast Yarn, a marketplace to discover, buy and resell surplus fabric.

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Zandra Rhodes Among 100 Fashion Figures at Event Against Antisemitism - WWD

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