Friday, June 3, 2011

Shirin Aliabadi and the Iranian Girls


The previous post on Jodi Bieber's portrait of Aisha Bibi might make you think that all women in the Middle East are oppressed. However these portraits from artist Shirin Aliabadi and her project on modern and outgoing fashion girls in Iran dubbed Miss Hybrid will make you think otherwise.

The Miss Hybrid series was done in 2007 and is a continuation of Ms. Aliabadi's work on exploring the different cultural expressions of freedom in restrictive regimes, especially in Iran.


These ladies sport a fashion that is different from the usually modest and often subdued attire of Middle Eastern women as portrayed by the media. Here the fashion and accessories are obviously western-inspired, colorfully vivid, and explicitly defiant, a combination that makes the whole get-up look somewhat ridiculous.

The emphasis of this particular fashion trend is placed on the bright blond dyed hair, colorful contact lenses and the odd looking nose tape which has become a must have piece of fashion.


A lot of the modern Iranian art often found their inspiration from the traditional art, something that was becoming all too common, according to Ms. Aliabadi. Instead of adding to this already saturated catalog of works, her photographs look towards a modern Iran with its vibrant and defiant youth.

These young women became the Miss Hybrids of Ms. Aliabadi's project, so called for the mixture of Iranian and Western lifestyles. These girls keep their veils but transform it from a shroud of modesty into an accessory of openness.


The fashion these girls choose to wear isn't necessarily for aesthetic reasons, but rather a statement about their beliefs. Indeed, this isn't just fashion for beauty, but fashion in defiance. They don't hide their individuality behind their hijab, instead, they flaunt it and show to the world their joie de vivre. And that is what makes these girls beautiful.

Indeed, this work is a natural continuation of her previous project entitled Freedom is Boring, Censorship is Fun, a title that would aptly fit this series.


You can find out more about Shirin Aliabadi and her Miss Hybrid Series here or here. If you happen to find more images of these Iranian girls dressed in the same fashion, leave a comment below and they will be included in this post.

65 comments:

Admin said...

Well that there; that's really good photography.

Astronomy Pirate said...

Yeah, Iran is actually a pretty nice and modern country, with crazy repressive rulers... I wonder who that sounds like *eyes the USA* ...

Also, it should be noted that the other previous girl was Afghan. There is a huge difference between the countries and their cultures, even if they are both 'Middle Eastern Islamic countries.'

Great photos though, and the thing with the tape on the nose is just strange. Any explanation why they do it?

Intraman said...

all of these women are gorgeous and the photography is beautiful. what's up with the nose patch though :p

Dejch said...

definitly nice photos

Jay said...

@Astronomy Pirate and Dejch: From what I've read, the nose patches are also a cosmetic fad that has to do with the perception of these girls being able to afford or actually having undergone rhinoplasty.

The desire to be western also extends to trying to have a western nose.

and Astronomy Pirate, you're right, Afghanistan and Iran are worlds apart; I was just trying to find some link between the two posts.

The Angry Lurker said...

Beautiful photographs but the nose patches are weird especially after your explanation.

VersionDouble said...

theyre fantastic

Jaccstev said...

Now this Iranian girl is completely more good looking.

BigMike said...

It looks like they have on wigs also.. maybe the nose patch and wig is so they wont be identified?

WOODLOUSE said...

Very interesting to learn about this culture

ed said...

so thats what they look under all that headwear

Dale said...

these are great

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Lol, its like they are doing an ad campaign for breathe rite strips

Rob said...

Very amazing photos, and what a story behind them!

Dave said...

I think that I'll become a Muslim lol.

DocStout said...

All blonde and with band-aids on their noses... well, it is no weirder than baby pacifiers or parachute pants.

D4 said...

Those are some pretty interesting photos, I was staring in an odd way. Interesting. I also found the nose thing to be weird, but then you explain it...

Then I realized, as far as fashion goes, I shouldn't think a little bit of some type of tape on the nose is weird at all.

Shutterbug said...

Interesting set of photos! And the info was really helpful.

T. Roger Thomas said...

Good to see that our NFL players aren't the only ones trying to open their nostrils a bit more.

Geoffrey said...

I don't quite understand the nose tape, but good luck to them all the same

Necroticism said...

Iranian girls are very cute, but I'm not sure about this ones.

Moobeat said...

awesome

jblogger45 said...

great pics

HiFi said...

The first and second girls look white to me. Are they Iranian? I've seen military photos of Iranian female soldiers and some of them look caucasian. Kinda like how Brazillian women can look white sometimes too.

Trolske said...

The tape and the super blond hair is disturbing, but their eyes are great O.O

bb31 said...

great photo

thenitefalls said...

These girls are too cute, especially the one eating the lollipop haha

ChazWellington said...

pretty women

Zander said...

I love your blog style. Followed! MC-hammer status, baby! :)

unevenlove said...

I would not have expected this @___@

Electric Addict said...

i like this style :)

Colin Biano said...
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Jacob said...

the nose tape is a little wierd..

Speedy Ed said...

gorgeous girl models

Zander said...

pretty girls... thanks for letting me follow you with my morning coffee :)

duffboi said...

Pretty. I dunno about the dyed blond tho.

Patrick said...

Very interesting blog post.

Malkavian said...

Wow, indeed this is a radical change from the media protraying of mid eastern women, dont get the tape in the nose though. But wonderful pics.

schultzz said...

loved the old school loking photo i like that style very much.

Dale said...

These Hybrid girl pics are very interesting..and they look really exotic with the blond hair and different colored eyes, it's so different that the nose tape is part of this trend. I know it says their hair is dyed but they look like wigs. Cool post!

Bart said...

wtf is up with those bandages on ther nose?

MRanthrope said...

so strange to see their naturally beautiful dark hair colored like that. First girl is really cute though.

Cherene said...

awesome!

r.alsharif said...

I live in the Middle East and I've never seen girls walking around with nose tape :P

Peter K said...

wait im confused...is the author saying this is an actual fashion trend in iran, or just that this is somebody's art project?

Anonymous said...

The tape on the nose indicates that the girl recently got a nose job. Iran is something like the nose job capital of the world.

Guido Costantini said...

It would actually be interesting to know what happened between 2007 and 2012. As far as I know, the "moral" police intensified their actions, to the point of raiding private homes.

I'd be surprised if these girls were to go around in public like this nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Nose on tape has become somewhat of a fashion statement to show off (or mimic the showing of) wealth. Cosmetic surgery, ie nose jobs, are popular in Iran, but are only available to those with money. Somehow this has morphed into bandade on nose.

andreasmoser said...

Don't be fooled: If women in Iran walked around like this, they be picked up by the "morality police" and warned, fined, arrested, beaten or worse.

Anonymous said...

These are photos to mock Western media's/commercialism's projecto-vomitting of beauty. Little do their exhibitors realize the irony of their self-loathing, suppressed sexual urges projected toward their authorities through transference.

Nancy said...

they remind me of 1950s pin up girls out for a drive (hence the head scarf so their 'do's don't get mussed)

Anonymous said...

nose jobs are popular in iran and wearing a nose tape is a fashion statement. Wierd I know, i don't get it either, but that's just how it is and that is why these girls are wearing those things on their nose.

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Anonymous said...

Tape = nose job = status symbol = implies wealth

Kinda like the Asian teens who risk their lives in getting fake braces.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing new. Most of the Iranian girls in my family have been bleaching their hair and wearing colored contacts for decades!

Anonymous said...

Most Middle easterners are Caucasian. Same with Brazilians, they came over from Portugal beginning in the 16th century.

Anonymous said...

The nose tape is worn after a nose job surgery, which is expensive, and therefore is a status symbol like and expensive jewelry. Weird it means " I had the money too fix my big nose and I'm not hiding it"

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Urizen said...

If any of you are curious, blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin and aquiline features are phenotypical traits found in all Indo-Aryan populations; which covers a number of ethnic groups. They are cousins of Europeans, like the Tocharians, and before the three separated on the Russian steppe they had all developed a propensity to produce fair blonde and red. Iranians of Iranian descent are, of course, not all blonde. But they tend to look at lot like Europeans, if you put them in European clothes. They (Iranians) are just as closely related to Germans or Frenchmen as the Italians are.

Many Iranians have a good deal of Turkic and Arab background, but the blonde/blue eyed trait is all over central and West Asian Indo-Iranian groups. The ancient Greeks remarked that the Sarmatians were tall, tended toward blonde, and good looking.

And, yes, Persian girls are very cute.

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