Galliano and Ferretti design abaya robes

29 June 2009


Christian Dior's Creative Director John Galliano and Italian designer Alberta Ferretti are just two of the 21 European designers who made-over the traditionally black Muslim abaya for a show in Paris's George V hotel over the weekend. The show's organiser Dania Tarhini – general manager of Saks Fifth Avenue in Saudi Arabia –. had observed that ‘most of the Saudi clients are wearing designer brands, but they're covered by a black abaya [typically covering the whole body and worn with a headscarf or niqab]... [so] let them enjoy it'. Tarhini herself approached the designers to take part in the project, saying it wasn't easy to persuade them as ‘they couldn't imagine how to make a designer abaya', but as the semi-couture garments dripping with heavy fringing, coloured sequins and rhinestone embellishment made their way down the makeshift catwalk, it looked like they nailed it in the end. Ready-to-wear versions of the gowns will go on sale in September, and most of them adhere to appropriate Saudi Arabian standards with floor-length hems and built-in veils. Some women, says Tarhini, ‘don't want to feel obliged (to wear the abaya). They want to wear it to look fashionable, as well'. [Telegraph]


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