Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, May 11, 2007

Quote Of The Day: Fashion Underground Edition

"All the ladies have gotten into the fashion business. We love it so much because the clerics hate it."
-- Azita, a 46-year-old designer

Call the Shah of Iran what you will, but he was undeniably a man with a keen fashion sense.

He's long-gone now, replaced with Mullahs who are as blandly dressed as they are repressive. But the freedoms of his secular state are not gone from people's memory, so in Iran a curious rebellion lives underground, in clandestine book stores, hidden speak-easies ... and secret fashion shows:
Tehran (LA Times) — FIRST, a text message arrived. The brief note invited recipients to call about the location of a secret meeting. A cryptic phone conversation followed. "Who referred you?" a woman asked. "Who do you know?"

A man drove up in a Korean hatchback and dropped off a coded slip of paper. The directions led to a bland apartment building in the north of this capital.

There, men and women draped in coats and head scarves entered the lobby, their faces sullen. A young man examined their documents for signs of forgery before allowing them to pass down the staircase to the basement and into a sea of bare skin and perfume.

Amid air kisses and gossip, techno and hip-hop music thumps. The guests slide out of dark overcoats to unsheathe daringly low-cut dresses and open-slit gowns, form-fitting sweaters and go-go boots, skin-tight T-shirts and acid-washed jeans. Skinny, long-legged models giggle as they slip into outfits of satin and silk. A red carpet serves as a runway.

A clandestine Tehran fashion show glitters gloriously to life.

"Everyone is putting on a show," declares Azita, a 46-year-old designer attending the show with her 20-year-old daughter, giddily taking in the swirl of lights, music, perfume and colored fabrics. "All the ladies have gotten into the fashion business. We love it so much because the clerics hate it." She and others taking part and watching the show asked that their family names not be published for fear of retribution.
Even after this cloak and dagger introduction, the LAT story says "Tehran has become more libertine under the conservative presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." I think the reporter is smoking crack.

It was a fun story and an interesting view into a real Tehran. Now perhaps the LAT's intrepid Tehran correspondent can write a story giving us another view into another real Tehran: the prisons where those who stand up against Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs waste away.