Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Black "Dress"...Stylish or Silencing? Can you have the power of expression with a Burka?

In a scene from the movie, Sex and the City 2,  the four friends find themselves in a roomful of their burka clad heroes, who have just saved them from a mob of angry men (provoked from Samantha's protests about their conservative ideals.) Carrie tells the women that they are from New York, and the women in burkas all start talking.  Carrie asks them, "Have you been to New York?" The women reply that they have not, but that they "love the fashion."  The women then take off their burkas and reveal the entire Louis Vuitton Spring collection.  Carrie narrates, "There in the dried flower shop, halfway across the world, under 100s of years of tradition, was this year's Spring collection."  The women look like gorgeous Spring flowers popping up after the long winter.  Although, the women are dressed in black, they retain their own individuality and style, even if they have to wear it close to the vest. 

In another scene, the four friends are wearing burkas to get past the mob of men to make their plane.  They are trying to grab a taxi, but none of the taxis are stopping for them.  Then Carrie lifts up the hem of her burka and shows a little leg...this gets the next taxi to stop immediately. 

This begs the question...can a burka be stylish and sexy?

One woman is trying to make it so.  Meet Lela Ahmadzai.  She is the creator of the project and product called Burka Meets Haute Couture.  She draws on both her internship at Malhia Kent in Paris, a company that designs and produces luxury fabrics for both the ready-to-wear and couture markets (including Chanel), and combines that knowledge with the history of her homeland, Afghanistan.  During this project, she creates ten wearable burkas, combining traditional Afghan elements with self woven fabrics.  Ms. Ahmadzai says that she wants her wearers "to feel legal, sexy, and feminine...and that a traditional veil can be seen as erotic and seductive." The gorgeous fabrics that she created for these burkas comes many different colors from misty grays to vivacious pinks.  There is great beauty infused into the tradition of the burkas that she has created.  A woman is able to wear her style on the outside with these amazing and awe-inspiring creations.

Check out Ms. Ahmadzai's website: http://www.burkameetshautecouture.com/hm_englisch.htm

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