Religion has always been really important to me. Growing up as a modern Orthodox Jew, I went to yeshiva. I also grew up in Brooklyn, and I would lie, cheat, and steal to get onto the island of Manhattan. I remember saving up for my first pair of Manolo Blahniks when I was 16 years old, and I made myself fit into the last pair that was on sale in my size.
[Ever since] I was a young child, I just loved clothes. I feel like clothes are really a fabulous way of expressing yourself. And it’s not about wearing something loud; it’s not about wearing something that says “look at me.” You can really kind of start articulating who you are and what you want to say. But there’s always this traditional part of me that kept the Jewish laws like being kosher and the Sabbath. And it was a really kind of interesting thing to get into the fashion industry, which—it’s not that there aren’t people who are religious in the fashion industry; it’s that, for fashion people, fashion is their religion. So it was always challenging to balance the traditional way that I grew up with the modern world [of] New York City.
One of my very best friends from growing up in Brooklyn is a girl named Rosie Assoulin. Now Rosie Assoulin happens to be a name that people know. She’s a fashion designer and getting tons of press for her amazing gowns, but when Rosie was 19 and I was about 23, we made a pact that someday she’d make my wedding dress. So when I met the man I would marry, I called Rosie and I said, “This is happening—do you still want to do it?” And she said: “Absolutely.”
It’s funny, I never thought of myself as a Bridezilla, and I didn’t become one. The one thing I cared about was my dress. It was off-the-shoulder with these long, billowing sleeves in textured silk. It kind of had this boxy, A-line top. It was actually a skirt and top, but it looked like a gown. And the skirt itself, it was fitted throughout the hips, and then it kind of trumpeted out into this long train. The first time I tried the entire thing on, I screamed: “Rosie! I’m a bride!” I had never thought I’d feel that bridal moment, but then there it was. It was a really special moment to have it be with a friend, on Seventh Avenue, and to see it go from sketch to muslin to the real thing. It was the most “couture” experience I’ve ever had, and it was really, really special.
The Jewish wedding ceremony is really the combining of two souls—that is something that is very special and sacred. The bride and groom come into a room before the ceremony and sign something that’s called the ketubah, which is a Jewish wedding agreement. Once the ketubah has been signed and the glass has been stepped on, the marriage is complete, and the souls are considered joined for life.
Life is full of surprises, I guess. And to make a long story short, our souls weren’t meant to be together. As much thought and effort and love that went into my wedding dress, that’s as much shock and pain that went into choosing what I would wear to my divorce. While most girls dream about their wedding dress, I’d be hard-pressed to find a woman or a man that anticipates what they would wear to their divorce. But to me, clothing isn’t superficial; fashion isn’t superficial. It’s another language for me—it’s my jargon. And it was important for me to express myself in a way that I wanted to in a situation where I felt I had no control. As an Orthodox Jew, I knew a lot about the wedding process before I got married.