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Dolce & Gabbana hijab and abaya collection
Dolce & Gabbana hijab and abaya collectionvia arabia.style.com

Pierre Bergé criticises brands that make ‘Islamic’ clothing

The former business partner of Yves Saint Laurent says they are ‘taking part in the enslavement of women’

Over the course of the last year, we’ve seen more and more high-end and high street brands start to cater to the needs of Muslim women. Dolce & Gabbana launched a line of hijabs and abayas, H&M cast a hijab-wearing model in one of its advertising campaigns, M&S started selling a full body burkini swimsuit and, most recently, Uniqlo debuted a collection of ‘modest wear’ made in collaboration with Muslim designer Hana Tajima.

By and large, the responses to these various moves have been positive – people have praised these brands for adopting a more inclusive attitude towards people whose needs have often been overlooked by mainstream fashion. However Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent’s former lover and business partner who, speaking to Europe 1 radio yesterday, said they are “taking part in the enslavement of women”.

“I am scandalized. Having worked with Yves Saint Laurent for close to 40 years, I have always believed that a fashion designer is there to make women beautiful and grant them freedom, and not to side with this compulsory dictatorship, this abominable way of hiding women,” he said, reports WWD.

“It’s not because women are forced to dress that way by their husbands, their families or their entourage that you should go in that direction. On the contrary, you should teach them to undress, to revolt, to live like the women of today do across in the world,” he went on to say. “It’s to make dough and nothing else. It’s intolerable.”

When the interviewer asked him to respond to accusations that his comments are Islamophobic, he said, “I live in Morocco most of the time, I am really not Islamophobic.”

We have reached out to a representative for M Bergé who is yet to comment. 

Update: M Bergé has declined to comment.