Nomad fashion show mixes the ancient and the modern in the Kyrgyzstan mountains


On the shore of one of the world’s deepest lakes, high up in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, models strutted and sashayed in outfits mixing the ancient and modern at the World Nomads Fashion Festival.

A model in a blue outfit walks down a runway, there are women behind her.
A model displays an outfit from the collection by Indonesian designer Akeyla Naraya during the festival.(AP: Vladimir Voronin)

The event, now in its third year, drew designers and fashion-industry figures from about 20 countries to shimmering Lake Issyk-Kul to admire outfits drawing on Kyrgyzstan’s millennia-old nomadic culture.

Masked performers dance across the tiles.  a garden bed and the ocean are in the distant background.
The festival was held at Cholpon-Ata, a resort town on the northern shores of Lake Issyk-Kul, 207 kilometers east of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.(AP: Vladimir Voronin)

The stiletto heels worn by some models wouldn’t be suitable for a proper nomad, but some of their elaborate headdresses that seemed to mimic the horns of cattle were taken on traditional nomad costumes.

Silhouettes of seven female dancers in front of blue tiles and the sky.
The main goal of the festival is to show the world the Kyrgyz fashion industry.(AP: Vladimir Voronin)

Swirling, voluminous skirts featured in many of the outfits, either elaborately patterned or in blocks of vivid color.

A woman in a red costume has her hands spread in front of her face as part of a performance.
The fashion event took place from July 21 to 23. (AP: Vladimir Voronin)

Along with the couture, the show offered visitors the chance to see an array of yurts — the wood-framed tents of skin or felt characteristic of nomads — and brightly-colored carpets.

Models dressed in bright clothing are lined up next to a gold statue.
Models wait for their turn to display a collection.(AP: Vladimir Voronin)

There were participants from distant countries such as Indonesia, Morocco and France.

A model dressed in a designer's clothes stands in a field with a shed behind her.
A model displays an outfit from the collection by Kyrgyzstan’s designer Irina Unsapan.(AP: Vladimir Voronin)

During a three-day program about 40 designers showcased their work.

Two members of the Russian Folk Dance Ensemble are dressed in colorful outfits and standing with their hands on their hips.
The event’s founder hopes Kyrgyzstan can create a platform for organizing catwalk shows and exhibitions for the global fashion industry.(AP: Vladimir Voronin)

“The World Nomad Fashion Festival is the first and only project in Central Asia and some European countries that glorifies the civilization of nomads,” the event’s founder, Nazira Begim, said.

A performer dressed in bright blues and purples has her arms reached out during a dance.
Elaborate patterns and vivid colors featured in many of the outfits.(AP: Vladimir Voronin)

“It was created in 2019. This idea belongs to me. The project is one of my old dreams.

“When I organized it for the first time, without knowing anyone personally, I invited designers from 17 countries and held it also on the shores of Issyk-Kul lake.”

Members of the Russian Folk Dance Ensemble of Adygea walk in a line, dressed in colorful clothing.
Members of the Russian Folk Dance Ensemble of Adygea perform.(AP: Vladimir Voronin)

Ms Begim is keen to spotlight Kyrgyzstan’s fashion industry.

AP



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