Saudi Arabia's first fashion week kicks off for women only

2018-04-12 23:00
Signs prepared ahead of the opening ceremony of the Arab Fashion Week at Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh. (Fayez Nureldine, AFP)

Signs prepared ahead of the opening ceremony of the Arab Fashion Week at Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh. (Fayez Nureldine, AFP)

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Saudi Arabia has kicked off its first-ever fashion week with designs by Middle Eastern, Brazilian, US and Russian designers, as well as shows by internationally renowned labels Roberto Cavalli and Jean Paul Gaultier.

In line with Saudi cultural norms and rules on gender segregation, the catwalks are open to women-only and no outside cameras are allowed to film inside.

Still, the event marks the latest turnaround for a country that for decades has been ruled by ultraconservative dogma.

While the kingdom has held fashion shows in the past, they have mostly been tied to charitable causes and did not include big names in the industry.

The catwalks kicked off on Thursday and run until Saturday, when – in another first – the fashion week will conclude with a Russian ballet performance for a women's-only audience.

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