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The First Saudi Fashion Week Opens in Riyadh….But Without Men

The first week of Riyadh fashion started on April 10th. The event which is part of a context of modernization reforms led by the Crown Prince is however prohibited to men.

Fashion designers, supermodels, podiums, stars and sequins were on hand on April 10 to participate in the first week of fashion organized in Saudi Arabia. On the spot, only women, since the event is forbidden to men. Even photographers are not welcome, to avoid broadcasting images of women in the Saudi kingdom.

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.

For this unprecedented edition in Riyadh, great European names, such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Roberto Cavalli, rub shoulders with local designers, like the Saudi Arwa Al Banawi, very popular with  fashionistas in the region, who presents a collection called 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 and fashion industry leaders. “Our fashion council is trying to bring this industry to Saudi Arabia to a new level,” adds the princess.

In Saudi Arabia, the women obtained driving licenses from June 2018. Saudi women celebrated the National Day with men and were able to watch football matches. 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 forms.

A second edition of the event is already planned in the Saudi kingdom in October 2018. It remains to be seen if this time will be open to men.

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