DUBAI // Spectacularly designed abayas and gowns moved with graceful, slow motion yesterday during the first underwater fashion show in the Middle East.
The show featured the work of Arab students from the American University in the Emirates (AUE), and took place in the aquarium at the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai.
Ten gowns featuring a vibrant modern twist on the classic abaya were exhibited during the event.
"We set out to make a very abstract and very interesting show," said Dr Franziska Apprich, the assistant professor at AUE who came up with the idea for the underwater event.
"We wanted to make it like a ballet and I think we succeeded," she said.
"It was a very challenging project," said Angela Touma, an Emirati fashion student. "We had to cover the oxygen tanks by adding fabric in the back of the dresses ... and added about five yards of fabric to create a floating effect in the water."
Dr Apprich came up with the idea while visiting the hotel aquarium.
"I thought, wouldn't it be amazing to do something unique in the Middle East instead of the usual catwalk fashion shows?" she said.
The university teamed up with online store Sukar.com, which will sell versions of the gowns as well as the accessories on their website for the next two weeks. The money raised from the sales will be donated to Blue Flag Programme, which seeks to protect beaches in the UAE.