‘Dare to bare’ Pak fashionistas” thumb a nose at Taliban

KARACHI: Bare shoulders, backless gowns and pouting models are wowing Pakistan’s glitterati as Karachi fashion week shows the world a different side of the Taliban-troubled nation.

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A model presents a creation by Pakistani designer Samar Mehdi during the Pakistan Fashion Week in Karachi. (ASIF HASSAN-AFP Photo)

While women in much of Muslim, conservative Pakistan opt for headscarves over baggy shalwar khamis or even burkas, on the catwalks of financial capital Karachi, designers are exposing midriffs and flashing cleavage.

Fashion week runs until Saturday, taking place three weeks late because of security jitters and as a mark of respect for more than 300 people who perished in a string of attacks blamed on Islamist militants last month.

Fashionistas in Karachi, however, shrug off security fears in the southern city of 14 million people, known for its glitzy malls and thriving cafe culture a two-hour flight away from militant hubs in the northwest.

“We, the members of Fashion Pakistan, feel great to be hosting this colourful event at difficult times in our history, when the entire nation is waging a battle against militancy,” she said.

The eight local designers who opened the event experimented with twists on traditional Pakistani dress and western styles.

Intricate and colourful fabrics lit up the catwalk, while a towering black feather hat, off-the-shoulder dresses and halterneck gowns graced the frames of sultry models strutting in high heels past an awed audience.

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