French Designers Seek to Break Burqa Stereotypes

As France takes steps towards banning the burqa, Paris designers are staging their own unveilings in the Middle East. Saks Fifth Avenue of Riyadh pull designer abayas with the labels of Paris fashion houses. French labels by John Galliano of Dior as well as Nina Ricci and Jean Claude Jitrois appear on abayas adorned by Swarovski crystals and elaborate embroidery. They range in price for $2,000 to $2,500 for ready-to-wear, while a couture abaya with a coordinating veil could go for as much as $11,500.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that French fashion is wading into the burqa debate. Givenchy is sending models down runways with their faces covered to protest the government’s stance.