In Tehran, Islamic Fashionistas Brood Over Chinese Valentino

In Tehran, Islamic Fashionistas Brood Over Chinese Valentino

TEHRAN, Iran -- A battery of flashbulbs pop to the rhythm of a leggy model sashaying down the makeshift quadrangular catwalk, striking a pose for the audience at every corner. Sporting a billowing, Chinese-inspired gown with matching red slippers, her neck and bare feet are covered in artfully wrapped white gauze. Other models exhibit chunky silver jewelry while all wear a uniform black head covering that obscures the eyes. For the men, blindfolds and chest-hugging shirts complement graceful linen waistcoats, cargo pants and accessories.

At the show's conclusion, the designer is escorted out by the models to a storm of applause. But the success of the show does not hide the fact that it has taken place in an underground parking lot specially converted into a catwalk. All female audience-members wear the headscarves and baggy manteaus that Iran's Islamic regulations oblige them to wear in public.

"The best place I could find was this parking (lot)," said Nina Ghafari, the 26-year old Iranian-American designer who came up with the idea for the show. "I tried for a museum and a gallery but I couldn't get permission."

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review