Designer Ali Xeeshan teams up with UN Women to challenge child marriage in Pakistan

The image of this young girl was a shock to the system and went viral on social media. (Photo courtesy: UN Women)
Updated 17 December 2017
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Designer Ali Xeeshan teams up with UN Women to challenge child marriage in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: At this year’s Pantene Bridal Couture Week, the king of putting on a show, Ali Xeeshan, used his platform to shine a spotlight on the epidemic of child marriages in Pakistan.
Hand in hand with UN Women, Ali’s finale had a young, school-aged girl dressed in a school uniform outfitted with bridal trappings, like borders and embroidery, walk the ramp. Adorned in the traditional jewels that, for generations, have marked one as a bride and with henna-painted hands, the image of this young girl was a shock to the system and went viral on social media.
Last year, Ali used his platform at bridal week to highlight the issue of forced marriage in Pakistan. This year, the tackling of the issue comes from the lack of improvement in the circumstances surrounding child marriage in Pakistan, even when there are countless organizations and groups fighting to change laws regarding it.
According to the UN Women’s official press release on the collaboration, Pakistan’s Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) sets the legal age of marriage as 16 for women and 18 for men, but it is still estimated that more than 20 percent of women are married off before the age of 18 and three percent overall do not even cross the age of 15 before they get married. There have been efforts to increase the legal age of marriage from 16 to 18 for women across the nation, but this has faced criticism and resistance.
Jamshed Kazi, country representative for UN Women Pakistan, said: “It’s astounding how women aren’t allowed to drive or vote before the age of 18 and at the same time, they’re forced into this lifelong commitment way before they reach that age.”
The show was followed up by UN Women’s website directing people to head to www.thebridaluniform.com and urging those stopping by to learn more and sign a petition urging Pakistan’s Parliament to push the issue and have the marriage age for women to be upped to 18.
Proceeds from Ali Xeeshan’s collection will be donated to Pirbhat Women’s Development Society and Sujag Sansar, organizations striving to end violence against women and working against child marriages in Pakistan.


Clear out your closet: Chloé’s Fall 2018 line is beautiful, bold and full of character

Outfits from the brand’s Fall 2018 line. (Photo supplied)
Updated 18 June 2018
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Clear out your closet: Chloé’s Fall 2018 line is beautiful, bold and full of character

DUBAI: Her debut collection for Chloé – Spring/Summer 2018 – was met with a rapturous reception during Paris Fashion Week earlier this year. Now, creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi is back with her second round for Fall 2018.

Feminine yet edgy, Chloé’s latest — made of fabrics including tweed wool, wool gabardine and Prince of Wales checks — features contrasts of matte and shine, colored by a palette made up of wood, terracotta, mocha, midnight blue, grey, beige, khaki and white. Sharp tailoring is the order of the day, with signature items including a classic blanket cape, caban coat, riding blazer, and a “saharienne” jacket. Long-sleeved dresses and high flared trousers that elongate the silhouette complete the collection.

Releasing alongside the womenswear collection is a number of accessories, including the much-awaited new Chloé sneaker, available in both high and low-top styles. Other footwear to look out for is the brand’s pointed boots. Crafted on a stacked Cuban heel, these easy-to-wear, suitable for day-to-evening boots are available in ankle, mid-calf or thigh-high versions.

A couple of Ramsay-Levi handbag creations return here. The Drew Bijou — which first made an appearance during the SS18 runway show — is now available in burnished “sfumato” tobacco leather, leopard print calfskin or rounded quilting. The Roy bag, meanwhile, is being introduced as a bucket bag with canvas drawstring insert.

The appointment of Ramsay-Levi by the French luxury fashion house was considered one of the biggest stories in fashion in 2017. Not only was the designer leaving her prestigious post as design director for Louis Vuitton, she was also taking over from Clare Weight Keller — yes, she who designed Meghan Markle’s wedding dress — who herself left to accept a role at Givenchy.

Describing her work, Ramsay-Levi told the New York Times: “I always like to have something that is a bit wrong – nothing too bourgeois,” citing inspiration ranging from New Wave cinema to Cycladic artefacts. “I call it vintage in the future.”

Chloé, of course, is a name that needs no introduction. Founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion – a Parisian of Egyptian-Jewish origin – the brand now brings in sales of around $417.20 million.

Since its inception, Chloé has garnered a legion of famous faces as fans, including Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot and Grace Kelly in the 1960s, to the likes of Kristen Dunst, Natalie Portman and Zendaya now.

The move also looked to change the artistic of direction of Chloé — transforming from flowy, feminine silhouettes, to something a little edgier.
It’s interesting to see what’s next for Chloé and Ramsay-Levi, but one thing’s for certain, with alumni including Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld and Phoebe Philo, she’s certainly in good company.