The Beauty of Afghanistan Remembered
My journey to Afghanistan was in 1977, right before the coup and the Russian invasion. I was invited to go there to design a line of clothes, and quickly grabbed the opportunity for adventure.
I lived with a French woman in Kabul who was married to an Afghan business man, Mr. Sharaffi. She introduced me to the tailor who would be making the clothes I designed. We were invited to his house for lunch one afternoon and I had no idea what an incredible "visual feast" was waiting for me: when the large gates to the compound opened there were five absolutely beautiful women there to greet us, dressed in their most exquisite clothes. I was dazzled. They were the tailor's family members, from sisters to cousins, and the tailor's wife and children. Since we were special guests, they were dressed in their finest. The tailor was showing his skill and wealth by dressing the women and children in their (his) most elaborately-decorated and colorful garments. I asked permission to take photographs, which was kindly granted. I knew at the time that this was a unique and special opportunity, since one did not see women dressed this way in the street. It was not acceptable to take photographs of traditional women in public, which I respected and honored. Little did I know at the time what a rare event this was.
These beautiful images are from a now-distant past. Two decades of killing, torture, and suppression have destroyed what I once knew as a wonderful and generous culture. It is very possible that nothing and no one in these photographs remain today.