Photo: AP Images
The upscale Cipriani restaurant in midtown Manhattan played backdrop to a bizarre human-rights battle yesterday when picketers showed up to protest a fashion show for Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan’s dictator who has been accused of flagrant human rights abuses involving children.Karimova, daughter of Uzbek dictatorial leader Islam Karimov and likely successor to the presidency, was to officially present her line, Guli, as part of New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Human rights’ groups say the Uzbeki regime forces two million children as young as 13 to pick cotton during the harvest season, a blatant violation of international child labour laws.
Karimova has a carefully managed reputation in Uzbekistan, but has been called “the single most hated person in the country” in U.S. cables published by Wikileaks, and is widely viewed as a robber barron, according to the Guardian.
Undeterred by the uproar surrounding her New York show, Karimova relocated the event from its original location at the tents in Lincoln centre to the posh midtown eatery.
Show-goers were met with a flock of anti-child labour protestors.
According to the Guardian:
Impeccably dressed fashionistas who turned up at Cipriani’s faced anti-child labour activists chanting slogans, waving banners and handing out leaflets, while extra security slowed the activists’ progress inside by checking their passes. The enthusiasm of security guards, specially drafted in for the event, also affected Guli’s publicity, as some fashion magazine photographers covering the event were refused entry.
Karimova wisely opted not to show her face at the event. And it was widely panned by critics, especially the Post‘s Andrea Peyser, who wrote:
Interspersed among skeletal girl models, draped in a mismatched collection of flimsy, chiffon gowns and seedy tiger-print pants, there walked several, jail-bait-looking male models — each one clad in linen shorts. Like kids.
This is Gulnara Karimova at a fashion show in Moscow. She didn't dare show up to yesterday's event in Manhattan
The Guli show was hastily rescheduled at the Cipriani on 42nd Street after fashion week organisers cancelled her event
Around 20 protesters gathered outside before the show to publicize Uzbekistan's human rights violations
Uzbekistan is accused of forcing millions of children to participate in the cotton harvest each year
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