- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 31, 2016

French fashion mogul Pierre Berge charged Wednesday that designers who create Islamic clothing and headscarves are encouraging the “enslavement of women.”

Mr. Berge, who co-founded Yves Saint Laurent Couture House with life and business partner Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008, criticized big fashion chains that have followed Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana in catering specifically to the Muslim market, The Guardian reported.

“I am scandalized,” the 85-year-old told French radio station Europe 1 on Wednesday. “Creators should have nothing to do with Islamic fashion. 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.

“These creators who are taking part in the enslavement of women should ask themselves some questions,” Mr. Berge, who ran the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house for four decades, continued. “Renounce the money and have some principles.”

Earlier this year, Dolce & Gabbana became the first major western brand to openly cater to Muslims. Major retailers including H&M, Uniqlo, Marks & Spencer, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, Oscar de la Renta and Mango have all followed their lead in varying degrees.

Mr. Berge decried their “opportunism.”

“These creators who are taking part in the enslavement of women should ask themselves some questions,” he said, Agence France-Presse reported. “In one way they are complicit, and all this to make make money. Principles should come before money.”

“In life you have to chose the side of freedom,” he added: “We must teach [Muslim] women to revolt, to take their clothes off, to learn to live like most of the women in the rest of the world.”

Mr. Berge, who spends most of his time in Morocco, said: “I am definitely not an Islamophobe. Women have a right to wear headscarves, but I do not see why we are going towards this religion, these practices and mores that are absolutely incompatible with our western freedoms.”

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