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Hats That Look Good Enough to Eat

Explore costume designer Maor Zabar's delectable creations

By Jewish Arts Collaborative

Published Jan 27, 2023

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The symbol of Israeli fashion was once a simple cloth cap known as the “tembel hat.”

The tembel hat became a staple of pre-state Israel and the Hebrew laborer’s garb, known for several decades until it found its way in to dustbins, attics, and flea markets. The tembel made a major comeback when recognized by the MOMA in NYC in 2017, and paves the way for a look at the growth and trajectory of Israeli fashion and hat design.

COURTESY WIKIPEDIA

COURTESY WIKIPEDIA

Award-winning hat and costume designer Maor Zabar is part of this fashion evolution, creating artistically inspired hats that may not resemble the tembel in any way, but that similarly iullustrate the Israeli imagination through fabric.

Like so many Jewish stories, Maor’s goes back to his grandfather, a tailor who taught him to sew and play with fabrics at a young age, leading him to graduate with a fashion and costume design degree in 2003 from Shenkar College of Engineering & Design in Tel Aviv. 

Soon after, he opened his studio and began working as a costume designer in theater, opera, and dance, and a year later opened his millinery atelier: Maor Zabar Hats. Maor is one of the rare designers in this field, and believes “if you’re daring enough and want to make a fashion statement, a hat is the most standout item to do that with” . 

Since 2014, he has gained worldwide recognition, working on the line between fashion and art. His millinery knowledge and skills travel around the globe. His customers range from religious to fashionistas, young artistic to mature, men to women – and all have a flamboyant sense of style and a desire to make a statement. 

Maor’s love for food has always been a form of inspiration for him, many of his hats modeled after popular cuisines and trending dishes.

COURTESY MAOR ZABAR

COURTESY MAOR ZABAR

Zabar's "Pistachio Pie Conquered by Ants" hat

COURTESY MAOR ZABAR

COURTESY MAOR ZABAR

Zabar's "The Double C's – Croissant with Coffee" hat

On a pop culture note, you may recall the outfit that Israeli superstar Netta Barzilai wore when she won the 2018 Eurovision Contest with “Toy.”

Netta Barzilai at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest

Whether his hats serve as a Purim costume or for any other occasion, Maor’s hats bring a sense of Israeli whimsy to any party.

Browse Zabar’s collections and shop his hats here.

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JArts’ mission is to curate, celebrate, and build community around the diverse world of Jewish arts, culture, and creative expression. Our vision is of a more connected, engaged, and tolerant world inspired by Jewish arts and culture. Learn more at jartsboston.org.

Reflections

Activity

Many of Maor Zabar's collections take inspiration from food. What inspires you? Design a hat or another item of your choice using food or another untraditional choice as inspiration. After: What was your process like? How did you decide what to create in your design process?

Peeling back the curtain

Have you ever gone into an artist’s studio? What was that experience like?

Feeling connected

How do you typically interact with creatives online? Do you feel more connected to creatives in a digital space like social media, or the opposite?

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