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Grapevine
[Up Front Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: GREER FAY CASHMAN
Date: Apr 15, 2005
Start Page: 45
Section: Features
Abstract (Document Summary)

GOTTEX founder Lea Gottlieb, 85, has again captured the fashion headlines. The Gottlieb family, immigrants from Hungary, established Gottex in 1949 as a raincoat company. They quickly realized that if they wanted to make a splash on Israel's fashion scene, the focus should be on swimwear rather than rainwear. The glamorous enterprise, together with Beged Or (founded by another creative Hungarian, Leslie Fulop, who died recently), put Israel on the world fashion map.

Following the death of Lea Gottlieb's husband Armin, Gottex fell on hard times, and was sold eight years ago to Africa Israel, with Gottlieb and her daughter Yehudit Gottfried staying on to head the design team. It soon became clear that they were not wanted and they parted company. Gottlieb had to sign an agreement that stipulated that she would not in go back into business for at least 15 months.

Now, under the Lea Gottlieb brand name, marketed and manufactured by Tefron subsidiary Marco Clothing, she's winning back some of her former overseas clients, and in Israel she is selling exclusively through the New Hamashbir. The irony is that not only is she competing against Gottex, but also against her former arch-rival, Gideon Oberson, who has become her dual nemesis. In addition to designing swimwear under his own label, Oberson is also chief designer for Gottex.

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