For the last two hundred years, fashion weeks have shown the latest and greatest trends n couture. The first American fashion week took place in New York in 1943. Since then, hundreds of fashion weeks have taken place every year around the world. In recent fashion news, Saudi Arabia held its first fashion week in April.
Dangerous weather conditions, the arrival of foreign guests, and multiple models unable to receive their visas in time for the original date pushed back the opening to April 19. Even though the event planners pushed back the start date, the show continued as planned and became a historic turning point for Saudi Arabia.
Multiple famous designers – such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Tony Ward, and local designer Arwa al-Banawi – revealed their pieces at the show. Uniquely, this fashion week stood out and showed pieces less revealing than other well-known fashions shows. According to NPR, “the kingdom is still highly conservative and there are restrictions on what types of clothes can be exhibited at the Riyadh show — no cleavage, nothing above the knee and nothing too transparent. The audience was female only.” However, Saudi culture made huge strides by holding the show because, in the past, laws stopped women from using fashion, makeup, and jewelry to demonstrate their beauty.
Since this was the first Saudi Arabian fashion week, people in charge of planning the event wanted the night to be unforgettable. Jacob Abrian, CEO of the Arab Fashion Council, explained in an interview, “We decided to host a fashion week in Riyadh, considering the fact and the importance of Saudi Arabia as hub for the Arab world and as the most important markets in the Arab region for the fashion industry.”
After five months of planning, every detail of the show contained an important underlying meaning, which expressed its significance to fashion history.
(Sources: NPR, NY Times, Vogue)