A First Timer Makes Fashion Week History


full Idan Cohen had a great time during New York Fashion Week this past Valentine’s Day — not only did he debut his designs, he also wed his partner Elad Borenstein.

Cohen and Borenstein are both life partners and business partners. The ceremony took place in the same room in which their collection hit the runway that same afternoon — the first same-sex wedding taken place under the tents at NYFW.

Kelly Cutrone, fashion publicist and TV personality (you know, from The Hills), not only planned the show, but the nuptials as well.

The two men are from Israel, which has made significant strides for the LGBTQ community in the last 30 or so years. The ban on homosexual sodomy was lifted in 1988, a nondiscrimination act was passed in 1992, and the country has permitted gay people to openly serve in the military since 1993.

But even though Tel Aviv’s recent Pride Festival that turned out to be one of the biggest in the world, the LGBTQ community still struggles socially and politically. A recent survey by The Israel Democracy Institute illustrated nearly half of Israelis – the percentages varying slightly by religion – would be uncomfortable with gay neighbors. Sigh.

Gay people in Israel don’t have the same freedom to tie the knot that 37 states in U.S. provide. But if a couple were to leave the country to marry, say in New York City during Fashion Week, Israel will still recognize the union. With that said, a same-sex couple could not obtain a marriage license in their home country.

In fact, marriage rights and licenses in Israel are exclusively controlled by religious authorities. They are separate for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. This means that marriage policy for Israeli Jews is under the control of the Chief Rabbinate, which is exclusively controlled by the Orthodox. Still entirely opposed to gay marriage, Orthodoxy prevents gay couples from marrying in the country since civil marriage does not exist in Israel.

Fortunately for Cohen and Borenstein, and thanks to Cut-throat Cutrone and NYFW, they had the opportunity not only to say “I do” and show their love to the world, but also showcase their designs all in the same day. It's a win-win for everyone.

CultureAnalise SesayComment