In a first: Saudi Arabia hosts Arab Fashion Week

By AFP
Published: April 11, 2018
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Participants attend the opening ceremony of the Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Participants attend the opening ceremony of the Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Participants attend the opening ceremony of the Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE
A labourer prepares signs ahead of the opening ceremony of the Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE Women attend the opening ceremony of  Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE Women attend the opening ceremony of  Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE Foreign and Saudi women attend the opening ceremony of  Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

RIYADH: Jean Paul Gaultier and Roberto Cavalli are in Saudi Arabia — headlining the kingdom’s first ever Arab Fashion Week, an event that opened Tuesday to equal parts excitement and controversy.

Two weeks later than initially planned, the Saudi Arabian edition of Arab Fashion Week joins designers from Europe and the Arab world over the course of four days — including the kingdom’s own Arwa Banawi, whose The Suitable Woman line is adored by fashionistas across the region, and Mashael Alrajhi, the eponymous gender-inclusive label of a rarely-seen Saudi sheikha.

Foreign and Saudi women attend the opening ceremony of Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Foreign and Saudi women attend the opening ceremony of Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Princess Noura Bint Faisal Al-Saud, honorary president of the Arab Fashion Council in Riyadh, joined designers, influencers, and industry insiders from Ukraine to Lebanon for the inaugural season of fashion week at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, the hotel now infamous as the holding place of hundreds of royals and businessmen arrested in a state-sponsored corruption crackdown.

“Fashion has always an interest of Saudi Arabia,” Princess Noura told AFP at the event.

Women attend the opening ceremony of Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Women attend the opening ceremony of Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

“It has not been something that wasn’t on the table or in the picture,” she added. “Our fashion council is trying to bring the fashion industry in Saudi Arabia to a whole new level, a whole new industry.”

Listed as an international fashion week alongside Paris and Milan, Arab Fashion Week offers exclusively see-now-buy-now collections and pre-collections. Until this week, it had been hosted exclusively by Gulf fashion capital Dubai.

But unlike Dubai, the Riyadh shows are not open to cameras, and attendees remain women-only.

Women attend the opening ceremony of Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Women attend the opening ceremony of Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

The ultraconservative kingdom has witnessed rapid policy change since the June appointment of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, son of the king and heir to his throne.

As of this summer, women will be allowed to drive in the kingdom.

The crown prince has also hinted that the abaya, the long loose robe worn by women from the neck down, may not be compulsory.

A labourer prepares signs ahead of the opening ceremony of the Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

A labourer prepares signs ahead of the opening ceremony of the Arab Fashion Week, on April 10, 2018, at Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

“We are so excited today to be announcing a history and new era for the kingdom, and for the entire Arab world, which is Arab Fashion Week,” said Jacob Abrian, CEO of the Arab Fashion Council.
A second edition of Saudi Arab Fashion Week is already scheduled for October.

Dubai will continue to host its own parallel Arab Fashion Week, with the sixth edition slotted for May 9-12.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Apr 11, 2018 - 10:59AM

    and why not . i like this new prince of KSA … hes building many bridges and closing many gaps . Recommend

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