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September 12, 2012

Fashion Meets Art on Pakistani Catwalk

by Sharon Behn

Few women go out in Pakistan without being fully covered in traditional dress. But two women in this Muslim country are combining modern art and a taste for high fashion to create a new fusion of wearable art.
 
Sadaf Malaterre, one of Pakistan’s younger designers says fashion crosses all boundaries.
 
“There are all sorts of Pakistani women," Malaterre explains. "There are some Pakistani women who are a little more conservative, but still fashionable, so they will at the end of the day cover the legs.  They will not wear a short dress.  They will wear sleeveless maybe -- they will be more trendy than the others.  And then I have a lot of clients who come and buy dresses from me.”
 
Her latest collection combines redesigned traditional Pakistan styles with original art pieces painted on silk.
 
The colors are soft, the styles ultra-feminine. But the images are violent: barbed wire, blood,  radioactive symbols.
   
Artist Anjum Noon painted these images first on canvas, then on the fabric. She says they show the resilience of the Pakistani people despite the country’s violent troubles.
 
“Through this chaos there is still this beautification, and I would rather go there because I know there is resilience there," explains Noon. "I think if I generally speak for all of my beautiful nation -- we are a very resilient people. I love that word, resilience.”
 
But while the message may be universal, for now, it is only the Pakistani elite who would wear such fashion pieces.