Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Is Saudi Arabia Ready for Runway Fashion Shows?

The Saudi designer Sadeem Alshehail, center background, after her fashion show during the Fashion Forward show 2017 at the Dubai Design District. 
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
LONDON — Business class plane tickets and five-star hotel rooms had been booked for scores of guests. The dazzling eco-friendly Apex Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, designed by the architect Zaha Hadid, had been chosen as a site. And a four-day schedule, featuring local Arab designers and European brand names including Roberto Cavalli and Jean Paul Gaultier, had been confirmed for weeks.

Then last Friday, just three days before an opening-night gala was to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s first fashion week, the event was abruptly postponed.

Some observers blamed widespread issues stemming from Western models and journalists unsuccessfully trying to secure travel visas in the run-up to the shows. Others whispered of a pushback from more conservative government officials against some members of the Saudi royal family who were more supportive of bringing fashion catwalks to one of the most conservative countries in the world.

By Elizabeth Paton.

Full story at NY Times.

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