During Christian Siriano’s Spring 2016 show yesterday, Morocco inspired the handkerchief-hem frocks and sleek shifts in shades of cream, fringed and beaded pencil skirts, and billowing, colorful gowns. Said Siriano, "I was drawn to the culture and lifestyle, particularly the annual traditional 'Feast of the Throne' celebration in Marrakesh, for which notables dress head to toe in beautifully draped white linens." The inspiration resulted in tiling, lattice-work, and pom-poms, à la Moroccan wedding blankets. It also resulted in headscarves that topped six of the collection's 48 looks. Was Siriano trying to mimic hijabs with those headscarves? It kind of looked like it. Perhaps those monochromatic head coverings were a nod to a well-meaning tourist in Casablanca wearing a headscarf with short shorts and a cleavage-baring tank top, oblivious to the hijab’s religious significance. That said, there are mixed opinions about whether tourists should don headscarves, “to help blend in with local women,” or avoid doing so, “because the hijab is a religious tradition. A non-Muslim woman wearing a headscarf looks inappropriate in Morocco.”
There were a number of Siriano’s looks that were far from covered-up (body-con silhouettes, sexy cutouts, high slits, plunging necklines) and the hijab is a sign of modesty and privacy. The looks with headscarves weren't all that demure: completely bare shoulders were paired with one coif-covered look, while the finale number had a very generous keyhole cutout. So, it’s more likely that the headscarves were a nod to tourists dressing the part while moseying around Marrakesh than expressly putting hijabs on the runway. Without context, the collection was one of Siriano's strongest. His mastery with draping, fluid lines, and theatricality shined through, but didn't distract. To Siriano's credit — he did his homework and took inspiration where he felt inspired. But in leaving behind the rest, the core of the aesthetic — religion — is, ironically, the thing that gets slighted.