Mahmoud Ahamdinejad: Islamist . . . Jew-hater . . . fashionista?

TEHRAN (WaPo) — In the Islamic republic of Iran, the law requires women to cover their hair and bodies in public. But how to do so remains up to them, and the result is persistent confusion in the streets.

Though leading Shiite Muslim clerics advise women to wear chadors — the traditional head-to-toe cloak, usually black — Iran’s urban fashionistas increasingly prefer tight-fitting coats and scant head scarves.

Now, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is stepping into the dispute. He wants to settle it by promoting government-approved apparel for women, garments intended to introduce an array of clothes that are “Islamic and beautiful” at the same time.

Hard-liners are not amused. They say that the new designs encourage “Western values.” But at a recent government-sponsored fashion show, young women and their mothers gazed approvingly at the plastic mannequins showcasing the new coats and scarves.

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