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Couture On The Rise In The Arab World

With Paris fashion week winding down we’ve seen a lot of interesting and exciting haute couture come down the runways of the world’s fashion capitals over the past month; but in a world that is still in the grips of a recession and where  even the most powerful economies have doubts about the future, many have been wondering: Who exactly is buying all these expensive couture pieces? Well according to a pair of reports from Reuters and The Telegraph the answer, surprising as it may sound, lies with the women of the Arab world.

While many westerners immediately conjure up images of burqas and hijabs when asked to picture Arabic women’s fashion, according to the executives of couture powerhouses such as Hermes and Ungaro, nothing could be further from the truth. As Hermes CEO Patrick Thomas recently told Reuters “For us, with China, the Middle East is the market that is growing the fastest these markets for a long time preferred a more ostentatious type of luxury and now want a more refined and discreet style.”

Obviously it is still the more well-to-do elements within Arab society, such as the various royal families and wives of oil tycoons, who are the ones found sporting couture looks from across the globe, but nevertheless this trend is an indication of changing views and sentiments in a traditionally conservative part of the world. A young woman from Kazakhstan told the Telegraph, “If I’m going to a wedding, I don’t want to bump into someone wearing the same. In Kazakhstan, women love beautiful clothes. Our husbands don’t have any say in what we buy. We feel these clothes are empowering.”

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