The presentation was intended as a gimmick and designed to make the show stand out to buyers in the fashionable coastal city. However, in a country where women are still bound by conservative ideas about modesty, the replacement of women with flying robots prompted widespread mockery — and in some cases, outrage.

On social media, some posters compared video from the show unfavorably to a horror film, with users suggesting that the floating dresses looked as if they were being worn by ghosts.

The reaction to the show is probably not what the organizers intended.

. . . Traditionally, Saudi Arabia has set restrictions on the types of clothes women can wear. The country legally requires women to cover themselves while in public by wearing an abaya, a loosefitting cloak. Many Saudi women are also expected to wear some kind of hijab or head covering, and some opt to cover their face with a niqab. These expectations are more relaxed in Jiddah, a relatively liberal city.