YSL Co-founder Says Designers Who Make Hijabs and Abayas Are ‘Enslaving’ Women

Pierre Bergé
Pierre Bergé Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images/2014 Bertrand Rindoff Petroff

Pierre Bergé is making headlines outside France for his comments about Islamic fashion on Europe 1 radio today. Radio France Internationale reports that Yves Saint Laurent’s longtime business and life partner addressed the phenomenon of designers creating collections specifically geared toward the Muslim world. (Notable recent examples include Dolce & Gabbana’s hijab and abaya collection and capsules from Uniqlo, H&M, and DKNY.) Bergé said he was “scandalized” by the concept. “Creators should have nothing to do with Islamic fashion,” he told the interviewer. “Designers are there to make women more beautiful, to give them their freedom, not to collaborate with this dictatorship which imposes this abominable thing by which we hide women and make them live a hidden life.”

“Renounce the cash and have some principles,” he said, addressing those brands. Bergé added that “I am really not an Islamophobe,” citing the fact that he lives in Morocco the majority of the year.

Bergé’s comments come at the same time as similar sentiments from another prominent French designer. Agnès Troublé’ of agnès b told Le Parisien that she would never design such a collection, saying, “There is something obscene about offering clothes to rich women from countries where many are fleeing bombs trying to keep their veils on their heads. We should not normalize clothing which is significant in the way women are seen.”

YSL Co-founder: Islamic Fashion Is ‘Enslavement’