Fashion models strut in United Nations debate chambers – CNN

(CNN) — It’s one of the more unusual places to hold a fashion show: the United Nations.

The global hub for peace and security opened its doors to ambassadors and fashionistas alike Monday night when Ambassador Riyad Mansour, head of the Palestinian permanent observer mission to the U.N., hosted Palestinian-Italian fashion designer Jamal Taslaq.

The runway was quite literally brought to the bargaining table. Models strutted their gowns across the same surface on which resolutions are passed, and where environmentalists gather to sort out climate issues.

This cultural event, however, was not immune to the conflict and fighting that so many other United Nations meetings are centered around.

As violence between Palestinians and Israelis goes on for weeks — with serious tension in the holy city of Jerusalem — Ron Prosor, Israeli ambassador to the U.N., blasted the Palestinian delegation hours before the show for not condemning the acts of violence back in the Middle East.

“The Palestinian authority is glorifying terrorists and celebrating attacks on Jews and Israelis nearly every day. And where is the Palestinian delegation? Have they found the time to condemn these attacks? Of course not. You see, they have a very important function to attend this evening. A fashion show,” Prosor said.

“The Palestinian delegation is off to a fashion show, because, after all, they are experts in dressing up and disguising the truth every day,” he added.

Mansour fought back with more words after the show.

“This is a racist remark, as if we, the Palestinians, cannot be a part of humanity to share the rest of humanity and the rest of the international community our creativity in the field of fashion,” Mansour said.

The unveiling of Taslaq’s latest fall-winter collection was inspired by Palestine, his home country, the designer said.

The fabrics themselves donned elements of peace and conflict: garments featured wood from olive branches brought from Palestine to Taslaq’s studio in Italy as well as embroideries — a classic Palestinian design heritage — made by Palestinian refugees.

Despite the current tension in the Middle East, which has spanned multiple weeks, both Mansour and Taslaq said they believe that fashion and design can play a role in promoting peace.

“Music has a role, fashion has a role, cinema has a role, intellectuals have a role, parliamentarians, politicians, diplomats — all of it,” Mansour said.

Fashion, Taslaq says, is a “message for peace.”

“I think fashion, like music, doesn’t need the language. All the world can hear and watch the fashion,” he added. “And this is a message for all the world.”



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