Hijab haute couture turns heads in Tokyo

Hijab haute couture turns heads in Tokyo
A model displaying a creation by Indonesian fashion designer Windri Widiesta Dhari during the Nur Zahra 2014-2015 autumn/winter collection show at Tokyo Fashion Week.

Among the aspiring Asian designers competing for the limelight at Tokyo Fashion Week, one of the most striking was an Indonesian label, with a bid to blend the traditional Muslim headscarf with haute couture.

The twice-yearly show, which wrapped up last Saturday, saw NurZahra roll out its autumn/winter collection "Layers of Fidelity", turning the modest hijab into sophisticated fashion.

The label - whose name means "the luminous light" in Arabic - wanted to prove that the female hair-and-neck-covering wrap could still take on playful elements, AFP reported.

"The modest hijab is not actually a restriction" in fashion, designer Windri Widiesta Dhari (inset) told reporters after her stylish designs hit the catwalk.

"It's how you cover yourself and look more elegant in a way that has a loose fit."

Ms Windri sees the traditional scarf as not just a modesty covering, but also a stylish, comfortable accessory.

She said: "We want to inspire people to think that wearing hijab is not something difficult, and (it) could be worn by anyone."

Her collection also bucks a contemporary design trend for simplicity and minimalism.

Blending cotton or silk into her hijab, she includes natural dye prints that rely on a traditional Japanese tie-dye technique called shibori and the Indonesian batik method.

With patterns ranging from mini mandalas to Turkish geometrics, she plays with multiple layers of fabric to freely shape her silhouettes. Another eye-catching element of the collection was a hat that spreads wide in the back, a throwback to the '60s with elements resembling a long-ago royal head piece.

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