TEHRAN - A fashion show organiser in Iran has been banned "until further notice" for staging a catwalk at which models wore variations of the national flag, media reports said Sunday.
The House of Fashion hosted the World Cup-themed show in late June to a mixed audience, sending female models down the runway draped in attire based on flag designs, the emblem of the national team and the Asian Cheetah.
The company "did not have the authorisation for this show... it will be unable to continue its activities until further notice," Culture and Islamic guidance ministry official Hamid Ghobadi was quoted by the Shargh newspaper as saying.
The designs, which appear to have left out the calligraphy of Allah on the flag, were the work of the Violet agency.
Violet - which calls itself the "first Iranian modelling agency" - has also been banned, according to reports.
With conservative critics having taken offence to the designs, as well as to the presence of unrelated men at the show, House of Fashion president Javad Shirazi sought to play down the incident.
"We did not use the flag with the word Allah. We simply used the colours of the flag," Shirazi was quoted by Shargh as saying, adding that the clothes were meant to be worn in stadiums.
However, Iran has banned female sports fans from games in stadiums, ostensibly for their own protection against what authorities call a "vulgar" atmosphere created by an all-male audience.