View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Monday, February 16, 2009

John Galliano Fashion Show in Dubai Reveals Confusing Dress Code

The Dubai Chronicle reports on a successful fashion extravaganza in Dubai:

“Dubai Fashion 2009 played host to a British fashion force in the form of John Galliano’s Spring Summer 2009 collection at the Madinat Jumeirah Arena Ballroom on Tuesday evening, February 10th. In cooperation with luxury fashion retailers, the Etoile Group, John Galliano’s collection celebrated the ‘Great’ in ‘Great Britain’ with the fashion ethos of a “new energy for a new season at Galliano”.”

The full report is worth a read if you are interested in fashion but this event illustrates something of the confusion of UAE values, laws and customs as they relate to the dress code.

Like much in the UAE, the Dubai Fashion’s second evening of international couture in the all-new Fashion Gallery was a segregated affair. It was a ‘Ladies-only fashion show’ showcasing the Spring Summer 2009 range. This single sex event is in keeping with UAE customs, although many top entertainment events are open to both genders.

The fashion show was held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Hind Bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum – wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. In this respect it gains the support of Her Highness and the blessing of the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the Emirates.

Some of the reports indicate the promotion of garments that would appear to be risqué and contrary to the values and customs of the UAE. For example look at this snippet:

“For the ‘fragile’ contrast, ruffled skirts and see-through chiffon fabrics were a favourite, with Galliano shifting his palette to Sage green, yellow and light, flowing floral prints. Galliano also played with necklines, ranging from halter neck and strap variations to chic off-the-shoulder looks.”

The see through chiffon fabrics, the off-the-shoulder look and the high hems depicted in the photographs seem to be contrary to the reports advising women what to wear in the UAE. Perhaps at a women’s only event women can wear what they like in the UAE, although reports from some suggest that with cameras on mobile phones Emirati women are tending to keep covered at all women events like weddings.

The above discussion is not intended as a criticism of the event or the fashion styles but a suggestion that what is halal (allowable and acceptable) in the world of clothing in the UAE and what is haram (forbidden) is increasingly confusing.

This was a showcasing of international fashion trends with the John Galliano range. Would the presence of men have led to a lower attendance, with women deciding not to come, and would the presence of men have stultified the proceedings or added to the richness of UAE life? When do UAE men get the chance to delight in the latest in fashion?

To read the entire article:

Dubai Fashion 2009 Triumphs with John Galliano, Dubai Chronicle, 12 February 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: One of the models showing off the Galliano Spring Summer collection. Photo courtesy of the Dubai Chronicle at the above link.