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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 July 2006, 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK
Afghans get a taste of the catwalk
Tolo TV:  Model in Kabul fashion show
Models wore head scarves during the show
Afghanistan has played host to its first fashion show in decades, with models displaying designer garments at a hotel in the capital, Kabul.

The show, which made the news on Afghanistan's Tolo TV channel, attracted an audience of expatriates and well-to-do Afghans.

Clothes made from Afghan textiles, including fashion burqas, were shown off by non-Afghan models to the accompaniment of traditional local music.

Organisers said they did not want to court controversy by using models from the conservative Muslim country.

The Taleban, who ruled the country in the 1990s before being ousted in 2001, enforced laws requiring women to cover themselves from head to toe.

Nearly five years after the Taleban's fall, many Afghan women still choose to cover up completely when in public.

Balancing act

One of the designers behind the show, Italian Isabella Ghidoni, told Reuters: "We invited a lot of Afghan women to attend the show but not to be models."

The garments on display were body-skimming rather than skimpy, and covered the models' chests, legs and arms.

Nooria Farhad, one of those in the audience, harboured her own hopes for the future.

"It will be much better and more effective if, in future, our Afghan models do fashion shows and show the world Afghan clothes," she said.

"But we know many families still do not allow their daughters to do things like this."

Fashion sense

Ms Ghidoni and her partner, Afghan designer Zolaykha Sherzad, started off by training women in fashion and jewellery design and went on to sell their creations in Kabul shops.

Ms Sherzad said small fashion shows were held in the city before war broke out in the late 1970s.

"There's not much in terms of the fashion we see in the West but there is fashion within a private environment, within the houses," she said.

"People like to be fashionable."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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