Daniella Lehavi 1954-2013
For more than two decades, Daniella has led the designer accessories market. She established a brand that bears her name which today has become a network of 14 stores and employs more than 60 workers. She created a new design language that is original, loved and has a distinct Israeli signature. All products manufactured in Israel and meticulously hand-made by artisans. Today’s products are sold in more than 100 points-of-sale worldwide, and in 2013 also won Accessories Designer of the Year award during Holon Fashion Week. On December 6, 2013 Daniella passed away. Now the unique Daniella Lehavi team, including her son Ori, the company’s CEO and creative director, the design team who worked with her and all company personnel work continuously to realize Daniella’s last wish. She asked to continue her life’s work, just as she had dreamed it, to carry on with optimism, maintain the fashion house she created with her own hands, and continue to bring joy and beauty to the lives of the brand’s customers.
Today, the Daniella Lehavi brand continues in its unique way while maintaining its original DNA and values that led it to success, ensuring production quality and the determination to continue Daniella’s dream come true: to create in Israel, local design in high quality that is new and exciting.
Daniella Lehavi’s life:
Daniella Lehavi was born in 1954 in Switzerland, daughter of Yehuda Assia, one of the first bankers of Israel, and Jean Ainsley, a native of Thailand who converted to Judaism when she married Yehuda during World War II. In 1963, Daniella came to Israel with her family. Since early childhood, Daniella had an interest and attraction to design, and it was natural for her to study in the department of product design at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. She returned to Bezalel, years later, as a lecturer. Daniella graduated in 1980, followed by various jobs in design, among other things, served as a designer at leading companies in the industry at the time.
In 1991, Daniella started the eponymous brand, and effectively established a designer handbags brand , the first of its kind in Israel. The label specialized in producing leather handbags with personal design, quality and high standards of finish that was not recognized in Israeli design and fashion market during this time. She paved the way for a new generation of Israeli accessories designers.
She began designing and manufacturing bags by sewing them at home at night, and by morning they were taken by bike to the various shops that agreed to sell her designs. Her unique signature designs were pioneers in Israeli fashion and captured the attention of customers quickly. By the end of each day, the shops were selling out of her products, therefore every night she continued to sew bags until the next morning to meet these shortages. In the early years, the brand’s products were sold in 70 stores in Israel. She opened a design and manufacturing studio in Tel Aviv, and in 2001 opened the first store in Tel Aviv, Basel area, and has become a thriving network and leader in the fashion industry, and today has 13 stores across the country.
Daniella developed a strong customer base in a short time thanks to the unique and innovative signature in the local scene. With her product design degree, Daniella gave a special emphasis to the usability and durability of her products over time. Her collection carefully combined fashion design, quality and deep thinking about every detail, which created a new and unique language in the Israeli fashion. The success in the bag market led to the rapid development of the brand, and Daniella started designing and manufacturing shoes, purses, belts and other fashion accessories. Daniella quickly became synonymous with Israeli fashion at its best: original and local, meticulous and functional, with European qualities.
Daniella Lehavi specialized in handcrafted quality leather, an area studied for years. Eventually professionals joined her in a workshop set up in the studio. Daniella was open to the extraordinary possibilities inherent in natural leather. These quality leathers are manufactured in Italian factories and imported to Israel exclusively for the brand. The leathers are designed using original manual processes of dyeing, printing and embossing textures that were used along with impressive new developments and accurate coloring. These have become her trademark and distinctive signature of the brand.
In 2005, Daniella’s son, Ori Lehavi, joined to lead the brand. Ori, with a BA in Psychology and a graduate of the International MBA program for managers from Kellogg University, led the brand into a new decade of achievement and innovation. The brand began rapid expansion, opening stores, the expansion of marketing, online marketing, and exporting abroad – Daniella Lehavi products are currently sold in over 100 points of sale throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, Austria, Japan, and Korea. The company currently employs 60 people in design, manufacturing, logistics, management, marketing, sales, export and more.
Over the years, Daniella has gained a lot of attention in the press and local and international media. She has collaborated with fashion designers, textile and industrial designers and presented at Design Fresh Art fair. She was the only Israeli fashion brand selected to attend the event “Houses from Within” in Tel Aviv, and in 2013 Daniella won the Accessories Designer of the Year award during Holon Fashion Week.