Photo: Tal Cohen
Ultra-orthodox woman. Wind of change?
Photo: Tal Cohen

Haredi women bringing sexy back

New trend sees ultra-Orthodox women buy colorful, alluring nighties instead of modest night gowns. Founder of intimate apparel company: clients say it makes for peaceful home

The ultra-Orthodox woman is renowned for her modesty. According to the Halacha, a woman is forbidden from exposing her body in public and wearing short or tight clothing. Ultra-Orthodox rabbis take it one step further by instructing women to intentionally wear dull and decolorized clothing, and some are even forced to shave off their hair.


In the book of Psalms it is written: "All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold." Based on this verse ultra-orthodox rabbis derived their modest customs, intended to prevent a woman from exposing herself before a strange man.


But what goes on at home, behind closed doors, at a place where they are seen only by their significant other? Do the modest customs come into play there as well or do the rules change in the chambers of one's own home?


The Israeli textile company EvaShow holds the answer.


According to the women's intimate apparel company, 20% of its customer base comes from ultra-orthodox women's clothing shops.


"In recent years an interesting change has occurred among ultra-orthodox women," said company founder, Eva Ohana. "In the past they used to only buy long and modest sleeping gowns. Today some of them buy the kind of sexy and sensual lingerie secular women purchase, such as baby-dolls, shiny, sheer and colorful nighties decorated with lace, and thongs."


"Stores that appeal to the ultra-orthodox sector have modest and isolated changing rooms, which allow the women to try on the sexy apparel in privacy," explained Ohana. "Some stores even allow them to try the underwear on at home and return it if it doesn’t fit, just so they don't have to get undressed in a public place."


For his eyes only

Ohana says these nighties are only intended to be seen by the ultra-orthodox woman's husband, and him alone. "It's designed to seduce him on the wedding night and afterwards. One of our clients told us that these nighties make for a peaceful home, because her husband feels more satisfied. It may even contribute to increasing the birth rate in Israel."


However the extent of the bold choices in nighties varies according to religious restrictions. In extremely ultra-Orthodox circles the women still stick to the familiar formula.


"We design our night gowns according to the client's demands. There are still women who want modest, long, gray and black night gowns," said designer Keren Shafran.


"There are stores in Bnei Brak and in Jerusalem which order exactly what the stores for secular and Religious Zionists sectors order," added Yael Ohana, the company's marketing manager. "However there are still stores which order what they've always ordered. Their clients are very strict about the night gowns be closed off at the neck so as 'not to get one thinking.'"



פרסום ראשון: 06.15.11, 08:20
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