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VIP Dubai Beauty

VIP Dubai Beauty

22
Mai17

Little women stand tall at Dubai fashion show

VIP Dubai Beauty

A model walks down an impromptu garden catwalk at the International Dwarf Fashion Show in Dubai.

Like all working moms, Colleen Theriault has her hands full with her four-year-old son and a full-time career as a head baker at a patisserie in the US state of North Carolina.

But the 24-year-old is also an advocate for a budding movement that is breaking into the international fashion scene. Its models, like their initiative, are small but strong.

The International Dwarf Fashion Show, a non-profit organization that aims to "reverse the discriminatory diktats of beauty", brought seven women with dwarfism to Dubai this week for a show dedicated to raising awareness about the need for more inclusivity in fashion.

Models gather backstage at the International Dwarf Fashion Show on May 20, 2017, in Dubai

Models gather backstage at the International Dwarf Fashion Show on May 20, 2017, in Dubai

"This is the farthest I've ever traveled, especially by myself," Theriault told AFP, after modeling two dresses at the show late Saturday.

"This trip was a big step."

In shimmering bodycon dresses and bright embellished saris, models from the United States, the Philippines, Italy, Bulgaria, and Russia strutted down an impromptu garden runway under heart-shaped arches of flowers.

The show closed with a charismatic model in a bridal dress, her holographic Mary Jane shoes peeking out from under a rose-dotted train.

Zahra Mufaddal Khumri waited for more than two hours with her husband and young daughter to get into Saturday's show.

After living in Dubai for more than a decade, she recently set up a Facebook support group for individuals and families in the emirate who, like her own, live with dwarfism.

She and her banker husband have built "a pretty good life" for themselves in the global shopping hub, she said, but even there the basic task of finding clothes that fit has remained a struggle.

The couple generally seeks out the help of a tailor to alter or make garments to be the right size, particularly traditional Indian clothes.

"You should be comfortable in anything you wear," Khouri said.

- Beyond the 'kids' section' -

 

A model poses at the International Dwarf Fashion Show in Dubai on May 20, 2017

A model poses at the International Dwarf Fashion Show in Dubai on May 20, 2017

She does manage to buy tops and dresses off-the-rack, she said, "but with a bit of difficulty since I do have to search in the petite section. Sometimes in the kids' section."

It was witnessing firsthand the exasperation of a woman with dwarfism shopping for basic staples that inspired Myriam Chalek to set up the International Dwarf Fashion Show.

"It was seeing this little lady shopping in a kids section -- very frustrated, not finding clothes that fit her," she said.

"I work in the fashion industry, so you always deal with designers and clients who ask you for tall and skinny," Chalk added.

"Even though some people are trying to turn the tide like we are, unfortunately, that still remains the norm."

The International Dwarf Fashion Show, whose latest edition was held on May 20, 2017, in Dubai, aims to "reverse the discriminatory diktats of beauty"

The International Dwarf Fashion Show, whose latest edition was held on May 20, 2017, in Dubai, aims to "reverse the discriminatory diktats of beauty"

The International Dwarf Fashion Show has attracted worldwide attention since it launched in 2014, taking to the runway during New York Fashion Week, as well as in Tokyo and Paris, supported by France's culture ministry.

But VIP escorts in Dubai, the show almost did not happen after an eleventh-hour cancellation, organizers said.

Chalk said there was "chaos, drama, disappointment and anger" when the hotel they had booked canceled on them last minute.

A second hotel also refused to host the show.

Contacted by AFP, the manager at one hotel said he was not aware of any fashion show. The head of communications at the second hotel was not reachable for comment.

While Theriault was anxious to fly back home to her son, she said she was not giving up on working for more inclusivity in the world of fashion of Dubai escorts and beyond.

"We just want to show them that we're people just like they are," she said.

"Everybody has a disability, no matter if you can see it on the outside or on the inside," the model added.

"Everybody just needs to be accepted."

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