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A first “Fashion Week” in Saudi Arabia … for women only

Ⓒ AFP – FAYEZ NURELDINE – | A woman attends the first “Fashion Week” organized in Saudi Arabia, April 10, 2018 in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince “MBS” has embarked on far-reaching social reforms, hosted its first “Fashion Week” on Tuesday, with parades organized in front of an exclusively female audience.

Until now, the Arab “Fashion Week”, considered as an international event in the same way as Parisian or Milanese fashion shows, took place only in Dubai, the fashion capital in the Gulf region.

It is now also available in Riyadh, in a version however prohibited to photographers. And reserved for a female audience.

Famous European names such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Roberto Cavalli rub shoulders with local designers, like the Saudi Arwa Al Banawi, a favorite of fashion lovers in the region, who presents a collection entitled “The Suitable Woman” (“the suitable woman “). Or Mashael Alrajhi, whose clothes are free of gender differences.

“There has always been an interest in fashion in Saudi Arabia,” said Princess Noura Bint Faisal Al-Saud, Honorary President of the event, at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh in the presence of many creators, decision-makers and fashion industry leaders.

“Our fashion council is trying to bring the Saudi Arabian fashion industry to a new level,” said the princess.

Ⓒ AFP – FAYEZ NURELDINE – | An employee installs signs announcing the first fashion week in Saudi Arabia, April 10, 2018 in Riyadh

A second edition of the event is already planned in the Saudi kingdom, next October. At the same time, Dubai will host its own parades from May 9th to 12th.

The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has undertaken since last year deep societal reforms in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The women were allowed to drive from June 2018. Saudi women celebrated Men’s National Day and were able to watch football matches. And in February, a senior Saudi cleric believed that Saudi women should not be forced to wear the abaya in public, a loose dress designed to hide their shapes.

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