A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, November 20, 2009

Barbie in Dubai: Or, Are You Sure Dubai is in the Arabian Peninsula?

This story is more than a week old but I just discovered it: Conclusive proof, if more were needed, that Dubai is on an entirely different planet than most of the Middle East. [Image from Dubai Fashion Week via Daily News Egypt]:
Turning 50 with grace and style, yet not looking a day over 17, the iconic Barbie doll strutted her stuff on the runways of Dubai Fashion Week.

Celebrations for Barbie’s big five-zero started taking place in March, during which big name designers in New York including Diana von Furstenberg and Michael Korork. It was time for Dubai’s designers to do the same, which they did, capturing her sexiness and appeal in a myriad of styles. Yet all had a locally inspired touch.

Brands who lent a hand to dress Barbie included Aiisha Ramadan, Amato, Amber Feroz, Salma Khan, Sartori Sartori and Sugar Vintage amongst others.

Barbie pink of course was much utilized as the show kicked off with a crystal-studded pink swimsuit. Yet harem pants, evening gowns and elaborate kaftans were also part of the show, wowing audience members with the versatility of typical Middle Eastern designs and silhouettes infused in modern contemporary pieces.

Gowns in georgette and chiffon, flared skirts, hot shorts and glamorous black were also included. And homage was paid to younger fans with two designs made for Barbie’s young counterparts. Two black and white designs caused quite a stir amongst the younger crowd.

Dubai Fashion Week ran from Nov. 2 to 5, showcasing the most promising young design talent and the best of locally established brands. Models strutted down the catwalk like any other fashion week, proving that the Middle East is worthy of much attention by the fashion world.

Try that in Riyadh, Tehran, or Mea Shearim sometime. (One of the arguments I remember during the fight over Dubai ports and US shipping was the argument that they might stop allowing imports of alcohol. Which showed only one thing: the arguers knew nothing about Dubai.)