×
32 279
Fashion Jobs
NORDSTROM INC
Technical Program Manager 2 -Data And Analytical Services
Permanent · Washington
NORDSTROM INC
Loss Prevention Agent Valley Fair
Permanent · San Jose
NORDSTROM INC
Finance Manager - Technology Finance
Permanent · Washington
NORDSTROM INC
Senior Program Manager – Merchandising Analytics
Permanent · Washington
L'OREAL GROUP
Manager - Brand Supply Management
Permanent · Clark
L'OREAL GROUP
Analyst-Finance
Permanent · Clark
TJ MAXX
70118-lp Detective
Permanent · Bloomfield Hills
HOMEGOODS
Loss Prevention Customer Service Associate
Permanent · Edina
TJ MAXX
70118-lp Detective
Permanent · Farmington Hills
MARSHALLS
Loss Prevention Detective
Permanent · Lynnwood
ROSS STORES
Store Protection Specialist
Permanent · Fresno
ROSS STORES
Store Protection Specialist
Permanent · Aiea
ROSS STORES
Store Protection Specialist
Permanent · Miami
ROSS STORES
Store Protection Specialist
Permanent · Kaneohe
NORDSTROM INC
Operations Manager - 2nd Shift - Gainesville, fl
Permanent · Gainesville
NORDSTROM INC
Area Manager - 2nd Shift - Gainesville, fl
Permanent · Gainesville
NORDSTROM
Loss Prevention Security Ambassador Baton Rouge Mall Rack
Permanent · Baton Rouge
NORDSTROM INC
Asset Protection Manager - st. Johns Town Center
Permanent · Jacksonville
NORDSTROM
Loss Prevention Security Ambassador
Permanent · Birmingham
NORDSTROM
Asset Protection Security Ambassador 1 Portland Rack
Permanent · Portland
KOHLS
Full-Time Sales Supervisor - Softlines
Permanent · Bloomingdale
KOHLS
Senior Specialist Compliance Assessments
Permanent · Menomonee Falls
By
AFP
Published
Jun 28, 2009
Reading time
3 minutes
Share
Download
Download the article
Print
Click here to print
Text size
aA+ aA-

Top designers try a revamp of Islamic abaya

By
AFP
Published
Jun 28, 2009

PARIS, June 28, 2009 (AFP) - Ahead of the Paris couture shows, top designers have joined a tricky exercise to glam up one of the world's most traditional pieces, the abaya -- the long black overgarment worn by millions of Arab women.


Dubai, UAE, Two Women Dressed in Traditional Abayas and Hijabs, Black Robes and Scarves.

Unveiled the same week that French President Nicolas Sarkozy unleashed a storm across the Arab world for criticising the head-to-toe burka for women, the score of just-completed jazzed-up designer abayas are to be offered to the Saudi royal family by Saks Fifth Avenue of Riyadh and Jeddah.

The presentation of the madeover abayas, held this week at the luxury George V hotel owned by a Saudi prince, seemed just another catwalk show in the world's fashion capital, but within minutes morphed as a scene out of the Arabian Nights.

To music and amid a cloud of smoke, a mighty grey Arabian horse pranced into the ornate underground reception hall mounted by a Russian red-head riding side-saddle and clad in a rhinestone and sequinned shawl designed by John Galliano for the Saks collection.

Following the horse came a score of models parading the abayas, each of them black but each very different.

Other couturiers taking part in the scheme include French houses Nina Ricci and Jean Claude Jitrois, Italy's Blumarine and Alberta Feretti, Australian Martin Grant and US designer Caroline Herrera.

"I realised that women in Saudi Arabia wear designer brands but outside have to cover up in a black abaya," said organiser Dania Tarhini, who is Lebanese and the general manager of Saks Fifth Avenue, Saudi Arabia.

"I wanted them to be able to wear something with pleasure, not just as an obligation," she told AFP.

But Tarhini, who has worked for the company since 2001, said it had been difficult to get Western designers on board.

"At first the designers were not that enthusiastic, they didn't really understand, they couldn't imagine how to make a designer abaya," she said. "So I sent them abayas, explained that the concept was to link fashion with culture.

"I said that the same women who wear their designer evening gowns will wear their abayas."

Upcoming designer from Portugal Felipe Oliveira Baptista, one of the dozen taking part in the Paris couture shows starting early July, said that updating the traditional abaya had been a challenge.

"It was interesting to work on a garment that has very specific rules", he said. Abayas traditionally are black, body-covering and floor-length.

His was a patchwork of three different black fabrics, cut to lengthen the body.

Others came with shimmering Swarosky crystals, gold, velvet or pearl embroidery, and even see-through lace and muslin.

"It was not an easy exercise," said French designer Anne-Valerie Hash. "We were all very afraid."

The one-off pieces paraded in Paris are to be given as gifts to the royal family and other VIPs, but by September Tarhini plans to have a selection of designer abayas on hand at the boutiques for between 1,500 and 1,800 euros (2,000-2,500 dollars).

New collections, to be created twice yearly, will hopefully introduce some colour "navy blue, or dark brown, perhaps," she said.

"It is liberating," she said of the bid to update the dress. "It is conservative and daring.

"It is fashionable and doesn't go against the culture as long as the women are covered."

As to pieces that showed a glimpse of leg, "these are for ladies only evenings", she said.

by Claire Rosemberg

Copyright © 2021 AFP. All rights reserved. All information displayed in this section (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the contents of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presses.