Saudi Arabia's first fashion week kicks off for women only

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia has kicked off its first-ever fashion week with designs by Middle Eastern, Brazilian, U.S. and Russian designers, as well as shows by internationally renowned labels Roberto Cavalli and Jean Paul Gaultier.

In line with Saudi cultural norms and rules on gender segregation, the catwalks are open to women-only and no outside cameras are allowed to film inside.

Still, the event marks the latest turnaround for a country that for decades has been ruled by ultraconservative dogma.

While the kingdom has held fashion shows in the past, they have mostly been tied to charitable causes and did not include big names in the industry.

The catwalks kicked off Thursday and run until Saturday, when— in another first— the fashion week will conclude with a Russian ballet performance for a women's-only audience.

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