Orthodox Judaism Has Inspired The Most Provocative New Fashion Trend Today With Prairie Dresses

Batsheva Hay was inspired both by Orthodox Judaism and an old Laura Ashley dress that she made extravagant additions to, and her prairie dresses have taken New York fashion week by storm.

Batsheva Hay has inspired a whole new fashion trend of prairie dresses.
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Batsheva Hay was inspired both by Orthodox Judaism and an old Laura Ashley dress that she made extravagant additions to, and her prairie dresses have taken New York fashion week by storm.

With the conclusion of New York Fashion Week on Friday, it would appear that the world of Little House on the Prairie is the hottest and most provocative new fashion trend today with prairie dresses making a comeback after 150 years, and we have Batsheva Hay to thank for this.

New York fashion designer Hay, who was raised in a Jewish, yet secular family, married Alexei Hay in 2012, and Alexei is an Orthodox Jew, as The Guardian reported. While this is certainly part of the inspiration behind her new prairie dresses, another part of it stems from an incident that occurred in 2016 when she was looking to get a favorite Laura Ashley dress mended.

Having been inspired both by the Orthodox Jewish women she now encountered on a daily basis through her marriage and also what has been called the “kinderwhore” look that Courtney Love inspired with her babydoll dresses that were so popular in the 1990s, Batsheva Hay decided to make her own additions to her beloved Laura Ashley dress. She chose to give the dress a noticeably higher neckline and also added ruffles to the sleeves, while giving the waist a more corseted look.

The result? People began noticing Hay’s dress and asking her where they could also get one, and this led to Batsheva selling her own collection of what are now being called prairie dresses online.

With hardcore devotees like Natalie Portman and Erykah Badu, Hay is proud to call her dresses “frumpy,” and Lena Dunham, who also loves the prairie look, explained that these are the kinds of dresses that women always wanted as children and could finally get their hands on today.

“They really look like the party dresses that you would’ve wanted when you were six, or like the dresses that characters in your favorite book would have worn.”

For New York Fashion Week, Batsheva Hay staged her new designs inside a diner in Tribeca, with models drinking milkshakes. Women’s Wear Daily commented that when it came to these new prairie dresses, there was something that was “strangely compelling about Hay’s audacious treatment of a look that should have no place in modern society.”

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Jane in her new dress

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While the dresses themselves certainly hearken back to a bygone era, the fabrics that Hay chooses for her prairie dresses are thoroughly modern and come in bold pinks, green metallics, and shimmery golds.

It remains to be seen how long the prairie dress trend will last, but if Batsheva Hay’s business and New York Fashion Week are anything to go by, there are women everywhere who will be flocking to purchase her new inspired line of clothing.