The Shmooze

Kate Middleton Goes Hasidic Chic

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

Just last week we were treated to a provocative fashion spread in Israel’s Belle Mode magazine that was both inspired by and meant to protest the exclusion of women in the public sphere. In it, the models struck sexy poses, wearing ultra-Orthodox garb, in a vintage bus.

As highly unlikely as the scenes in those photos would be in real life, we now learn of another highly improbable connection between high fashion and the Haredim. It turns out that none other than the Duchess of Cambridge is walking around in clothes meant to imitate those worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews. We’re not even talking about the long skirts and high necklines of Haredi women’s wear — but rather referring to the long (typically black) coats, or capotes, worn by Hasidic men.

According to New York Magazine, the taste of the former Kate Middleton (now officially Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) runs toward coats modeled after a capote that once likely belonged to a Haredi teen. Katherine Hooker, one of the Duchess’s preferred designers, revealed in an interview that she started her outwear label after deciding to replicate a coat she found in a used clothing store in Jerusalem in 2003. “I bought a young boy’s Hasidic coat in a junk shop,” she said. “And it was an old one, like when clothes used to be made for people as opposed to mass market. I was 18 and tiny and skinny, and it fit me absolutely perfectly; it was made for a 14-year-old boy or something.”

The coats, which Hooker had made in India, were such a hit that she opened her shop in London in 2004. She is doing trunk shows in New York, but does not yet have any plans to open a shop in the U.S.

When asked why she thinks her coats are popular among with the Duchess, her sister Pippa Middleton and other royals (including Princess Beatrice of fascinator fame), the designer suggested, “They’re made much more in the way clothes used to be made before everybody had their clothes mass produced. The structured, more tailored styles are cut with high armholes so they’re very elongating, which also gives you mobility.”

The “Tori,” a double-sided cashmere merino with six fabric panels in the back and a price tag of $1,750, is Hooker’s most expensive model. However, most of her (shall we describe them as “Hasidichic”?) coats cost at least $1,000, which The Shmooze confidently assumes is far more than she paid for that second-hand capote.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Kate Middleton, Katherine Hooker

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "Selma. Nearly 50 years ago it was violent Selma, impossibly racist Selma, site of Bloody Sunday, when peaceful civil rights marchers made their first attempt to cross the Pettus Street Bridge on the way to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama." http://jd.fo/r50mf With the 50th anniversary approaching next spring, a new coalition is bringing together blacks, Jews and others for progressive change.
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.