MOSCOW (Reuters) – In a former czar’s palace in Moscow, models display a fashion collection designed by the 18-year-old daughter of Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of Russia’s mainly Muslim region of Chechnya.
The designer, Aishat Kadyrova, showcased a collection of outfits in sumptuous fabrics that conform to the norms of dress in Chechnya’s traditional society, with only the face and hands left uncovered.
Her first Moscow fashion show on Friday night was attended by figures from the Moscow fashion world, from the Chechen elite, as well as representatives from Middle Eastern states — which her fashion house sees as a growing market for her outfits.
Ulzana Zadulayeva, a spokeswoman for the fashion house, told Reuters that the outfits were already being shipped to customers as far afield as Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
She said proposals had come in from people attending Friday’s show to stage shows in other locations. “Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, we will be thinking about these,” said Zadulayeva.
She also said the fashion house was hoping to set up stores in Moscow and St Petersburg under a franchise arrangement.
Aishat Kadyrova’s father is a former separatist fighter-turned pro-Kremlin leader of Chechnya. Human rights groups accuse him of overseeing brutal crackdowns on opponents, an allegation he denies.
According to New York-based group Human Rights Watch, Chechnya’s authorities force women to cover their hair in public spaces and buildings, and ignore harassment of women deemed to be dressed immodestly.
In fashion terms, Ramzan Kadyrov is best-known for going out in public wearing camouflage fatigues or track suits, and for occasionally posing for photographs with a lion he once kept as a pet.
His wife, Medni, set up a fashion house some years ago, called Firdaws. Their daughter Aishat has since taken over the enterprise.
(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Hugh Lawson)