Levi OkunovFashion designer Levi Okunov is one of the fashion industry’s rising stars.  His Fall 2008 line, which features pieces inspired by The Jewish Museum’s renowned Torah Art and Hanukkah lamp collections, incorporates materials such as velvet and parchment to suggest textures and forms associated with traditional Judaica.  The lining of several pieces feature stenciled and painted texts by the 13th century Persian poet Rumi translated into English, Arabic, and Yiddish.  These passages represent the artist’s wish for religious tolerance and cultural co-existence.

For the duration of Off the Wall, Okunov will fit models with his designs. Each day models will circulate throughout the museum’s permanent collection Culture and Continuity on the third and fourth floors.  Okunov’s residency culminates with a fashion show at The Jewish Museum premiering his new collection on Thursday evening, March 27th. His collaborators on the project include hair stylist,Almog, fabric designer Sharon Ascher, crown designer Käthe Wenzel, makeup artist Linda Mason, and painter Rita Ackermann.

Completed Works on View

Okunov’s Hassidic upbringing is a constant source for his rebelliousness and equally measured reverence towards tradition. His Spring/Summer 2007 line incorporated fabric used for the production of prayer shawls. Each of Okunov’s six collections tells a different story and reveals the broad range of the designer’s interests.  For example, the opulent lifestyles of courtesans inspired Okunov’s Fall 2006 outerwear collection and his Spring/Summer 2008 line is based on the theme “darkness into light.”

Born in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Levi Okunov began sewing at the age of 15 and presented his first collection at 19.  A former apprentice to Marc Jacobs, Okunov’s work has been featured in Women’s Wear Daily and The New York Times.