Iraqi beauticians conquer fear at Baghdad festival
BAGHDAD (AFP) – Long targeted during the country’s sectarian war, Iraq’s best hairdressers and beauticians have held a festival in central Baghdad to show their talents, a symbolic move to break with years of fear.
The event, officially called the Make-up, Hairdressing and Fashion Show, was organised over the weekend in the small Sadeer Hotel in Andalus Square, the first of its kind since the 2003 US-led invasion and its violent aftermath.
It is the latest in a series of efforts by the Iraqi capital’s residents to benefit from a decline in violence from its peak in 2006 and 2007 and restore Baghdad, once a dynamic and liberal city in the Middle East.
An Iraqi model walks on the catwalk during a show as part of a hairdressers and make up artists festival. AFP
“The most important thing about this festival is spotlighting the brightness of Iraqi women, which has gone unseen by the world,” said Nadya Hamza Fuad, one of the organisers.
“This is a first for us after the events of 2003,” she said. “We see it as a first step towards achieving success.”
“Darkness used to dominate, and the light of beauty was extinguished 10 years ago, especially in women’s salons. Society has been held back because of the dark period.”
The festival, sponsored by Iraq’s Labour and Tourism Syndicate, brought together a handful of shy participants, upon whom beauticians and hairdressers showcased their talents, and a crowd of onlookers in two conference rooms in the hotel where the festival was held.
In one of the conference rooms, experts showed aspiring beauticians tricks of the trade and best practices, while in the other, a small platform was set up where three top hairdressers displayed their skills in front of onlookers before their subjects walked across an adjoining catwalk.