Saudi Arabia hosts first-ever fashion week
Fashionable women, dark-haired Saudis and blonde Eastern Europeans alike, fill the gold-trimmed halls of Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, marking the start of Saudi Arabia’s first-ever fashion week.
“We are so excited because this is the first fashion week in Saudi Arabia, so we are making history,” model Anita Dmycroska said.
Strict social restrictions have eased dramatically under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has reined in religious police, introduced public concerts and lifted bans on cinemas and women driving.
Yet, restrictions persist. Tuesday’s reception was open to men and cameras, but only women are permitted at catwalk events and outside photography is barred.
With recent reforms, women in some cities have begun to don more colorful abayas, sometimes trimmed with lace and velvet or left open to reveal long skirts or jeans.
No abayas will feature on the catwalk. The event hosts invitation-only fashion viewings and a Harvey Nichols pop-up store in a tent that was still being erected hours before the first show.
The event, initially scheduled for last month, was postponed because of delays in issuing visas. Industry figures from Italy, Russia and Lebanon flocked to Riyadh, many for the first time, to admire the work of local and international designers.