Saudi Arabia Hosts It's First-ever Swimwear Fashion Show

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saudi arabia hosts its firstever swimwear fashion show

The event showcasing Yasmina Qanzal's designs is groundbreaking in a country where, less than a decade ago, women were mandated to wear body-covering robes.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has spearheaded a series of significant social reforms aimed at moderating Saudi Arabia's strict image.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia hosted its first fashion show featuring swimsuit models, a bold move in a nation where women were required to wear body-covering abayas not long ago.

The poolside show, presenting Moroccan designer Yasmina Qanzal's work, primarily featured one-piece swimsuits in shades of red, beige, and blue. Many models had exposed shoulders, and some had partially visible midriffs.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Qanzal remarked, 'It's true that this country is very conservative, but we tried to showcase elegant swimsuits that represent the Arab world.'

'When we arrived, we realised that a swimsuit fashion show in Saudi Arabia is historic, as it's the first of its kind,' she added, expressing her pride in being part of the event.

The show was held on the second day of the inaugural Red Sea Fashion Week at the St Regis Red Sea Resort, located off Saudi Arabia's western coast.

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The resort is part of Red Sea Global, one of the flagship projects central to Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 social and economic reform agenda, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Since becoming the heir apparent in 2017, Prince Mohammed has introduced sweeping social changes to soften Saudi Arabia's austere reputation, historically rooted in a strict form of Islam known as Wahhabism.

These reforms have included curtailing the powers of the religious police, reintroducing cinemas, and organising mixed-gender music festivals.

However, these changes have coincided with increased repression of dissent, including from conservative clerics who might oppose such measures.

'It's the first time we've had a swimsuit fashion show in Saudi Arabia, but why not? Seriously, why not?' said Mohammed.

'It's possible, and now we have it here.'

Raphael Simacourbe, a French influencer present at the event on Friday, noted that while nothing seemed risque to him, it was a significant achievement in the Saudi context.