Abu Dhabi: From Traditional Attire to Haute Couture
A Brief Glance at the Sands of TimeAbu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, is a luxurious oasis in the middle of the desert. It's a place where one can witness the fascinating juxtaposition of old and new, of tradition and modernity, of camels and Lamborghinis. Yes, it's where the Bedouin meets the bling. In this city of stark contrasts, fashion too, has evolved and taken unique forms over the years.
The Traditional Attire of Abu DhabiBefore oil was discovered in the region, the inhabitants of Abu Dhabi led a simple life, herding camels and diving for pearls. Their attire, too, was quite rudimentary. Men wore ankle-length, loose-fitting garments called "kanduras" and a ghutra, a square of fabric placed on the head and held down with an agal, a black braided cord. To this day, the agal is said to prevent the posh Emirati men from having bad hair days. Women, on the other hand, wore long black dresses called "abayas" and a shayla, a scarf used to cover their heads.
Abu Dhabi's Nomadic FashionistasFast forward to the post-oil era, and you'll find that fashion in Abu Dhabi has become as opulent as the city itself. It's a place where the hottest trends of the season can change as quickly as the blink of a camel's eye. Take a stroll down the Corniche, and you'll be dazzled by the sight of Emirati women wearing abayas adorned with Swarovski crystals, gold threads, and intricate embroidery. Younger women, eager to rebel against the constraints of traditional clothing, opt for abayas in bright colors and bold patterns, making a bold statement one swish of fabric at a time.
The Birth of Haute Couture in the DesertAs the city's wealth grew, so did the appetite of its residents for all things luxurious and fashionable. The malls of Abu Dhabi are veritable fashion playgrounds, brimming with the finest designer boutiques, where Emirati men and women can indulge their sartorial whims. High-end fashion houses like Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton have found a home in the heart of the desert, while local designers like Hamda Al Fahim and Madiyah Al Sharqi have garnered international acclaim for their glamorous creations.
From the Sand Dunes to the RunwayAbu Dhabi's fashion industry has also started to make its mark on the global stage. Local designers are showcasing their creations in the fashion capitals of the world, while international designers are increasingly inspired by the rich culture, colors, and textures of the Middle East. In 2019, the city played host to the inaugural Abu Dhabi Edition of Arab Fashion Week, inviting the world to take a glimpse into the vibrant, exciting, and ever-evolving fashion scene of the UAE.
Practical Advice for Visiting FashionistasIf you find yourself in Abu Dhabi and wish to explore the fashion scene, here are some useful tips:
In conclusion, fashion in Abu Dhabi is an ever-changing landscape, with the city's rich cultural heritage merging seamlessly with modern influences. As you traverse the sandy dunes and shiny skyscrapers, one thing is for certain – you'll never be short of fashion inspiration in this desert paradise.
- Respect local customs: While the city is fairly liberal when it comes to fashion, it's important to respect the local customs and sensibilities. This means dressing modestly in public spaces, covering shoulders and knees, and avoiding excessive displays of skin or form-fitting clothing.
- Stay cool: With temperatures soaring as high as a camel's hump, it's essential to wear light, breathable fabrics to avoid melting into a puddle of fashionable regrets. Opt for natural materials like linen, cotton, and silk, and don't forget to accessorize with a pair of designer sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Shop local: While international brands abound in the city, don't miss out on the opportunity to explore the creations of local designers. Visit places like the Souk at Qaryat Al Beri and the Avenue at Etihad Towers to discover unique fashion finds and support local talent.
- Embrace the bling: When in Abu Dhabi, don't be afraid to embrace a little – or a lot – of bling. The city's love for all things shiny, glittery, and golden is contagious, so go ahead and add some sparkle to your wardrobe.