What We Saw At A Burqa Inspired Fashion Show


You see a lot of the types of clothing at Fashion Week that are supposed to be edgy and different and exciting, and they’re often all about the same. A lot of peplums, really. A lot of torn fabric. Some harem pants. Some shoulder pads. Basically, anything your mom wore in the 80′s set to a bouncy soundtrack. But once and a great while, you come upon a show that really is different. I think, by far, the most inventive and unusual show we’ve been (at least in the two days fashion week has been going) was the Maison de Urbana burqa inspired collection.

For those unfamiliar, burqas are traditionally worn in Islamic countries, and they cover a woman’s face and eyes. The women in Sex and the City 2 had problems with them (“it’s like they don’t want women to have a voice!”) but they do remain a part of the culture, in spite of Carrie Bradshaw’s objections. The designer behind Maison de Urbana, Urbana Chappa, says, “I’m fascinated at the way women in burqas can express so much through their eyes. It’s both sexy and mysterious.”

As Muslim women are increasingly adding modern twists on traditional styles, it seems like this collection is something we were due for. Here are a few of the looks from the collection:

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    • kj

      Sorry, but the designer lost me at I’m fascinated at the way women in burqas can express so much through their eyes.
      If a women is wearing a burqa, YOU CAN’T SEE HER EYES. Burqas cover your eyes… See? (or not see, really)

      Niqab shows only the eyes. I assume that this is what the designer is referring to.

      And Hijab (or the similar Chador) is the standard veil, where you can still see the woman’s entire face.

      If this is the basis of her line, she should at least be able to get the terminology right. And most of these outfits show a hell of a lot more skin than would be sanctioned by Islam – although I guess her point is not necessary to be Islam compliant. I just find her concept a tiny bit ignorant. (I’m not disputing that the clothes are beautiful)

      This is a pretty good example of some fabulous Muslim fashion.

    • alina

      I was born in Iran and moved to America at age 14. Like a lot of Iranians who emigrated, we are not religious and no women in my family wear burqas (or hijabs/hair scarves). The whole point of the burqa is not to be fashionable, but to take away individuality and hide sexuality by draping the body in shapeless fabric. Of course under their burqa’s Muslim women wear whatever they please so their actual clothes can be fashionable. But to discuss sexuality and fashion regarding burqa’s makes no sense and is very odd.

    • Aash

      Wow it’s about time people also realize that a lot of muslim women wear the the Burqas, Niqabs and the Hijab out of choice, as part of their culture. I’m from India and from a very progressive part of Delhi , where I know a plethora of muslim women who would love to dress up their Burqas and Hijabs as much as what they are wearing underneath. Also I don’t think the gowns the designer is displaying are necessarily for Islamic countries. Those are just to show in addition to the ornate headpieces that need not be worn with the gowns. I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with experimenting with fashion. In fact Jean Paul Gaultier just did a show with veils and other Indo-Asian influences at the Paris Fashion Week http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbYS0YaQou8