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The Kingdom’s fashion heritage showcased at the Saudi Cup 2021

This weekend took place the famous Saudi Arabian horse race. The event took place at the King Abdul Aziz Racecourse in Riyadh. If the running horses caught the eye of a majority of the audience, it was more especially the displayed modes that convinced the cameras’ lens.

Horse racing is characterised as the sport of kings in Saudi Arabia. In this context, Ryad, the capital, organised the Saudi Cup, the new jewel in the kingdom’s equestrian calendar, on 19 and 20 February 2021 for the second year. Endowed with 30,5 million dollars, this prize is three times higher than the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France, the best endowed race in Europe.


This year, the Fashion Commission of the Ministry of Culture has teamed up with the famous artist and stylist, Dr Laila Albassam, and illustrator Norah Sahman to create a unique dress code for the Royal Saudi Cup grounds, similar to that of the Royal Ascot. Guests were then called upon to celebrate the culture of the Kingdom by dressing in their finest attire inspired by traditional Saudi costumes.

Thus, in addition to being a sporting event, this two-day event was an opportunity for designers, influential people and people from the fashion world to parade in their most beautiful costumes and make the Saudi Cup an aesthetic and traditional event.Β 

The dress code therefore covered five areas. While women could choose from the different maqtaa, thobe and abaya of each area, the options for men were the daqla or saya. As for headdresses, women were encouraged to wear straw hats inspired by the heritage of the Asir region, or an embroidered and draped headdress worn by brides at traditional weddings.

We hope that this work will inspire a contemporary generation to look to the past and, by understanding and referring to it, create clothes that embrace the Saudi heritage and build a story for their future” said Princess Noura bint Faisal. She added: “The Fashion Commission’s dress code seems to renew our enthusiasm to embrace the future by celebrating the past“.

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Among the fashionable guests were members of the royal family but also the stylist Honayda Serafi, wearing her creations, specially designed for this weekend. Thus, the opening evening was the occasion for her to present herself in a white dress with buttons, under a heavily decorated coat embroidered with hundreds of tiny sequins and golden beads. By combining this royal look with a white scarf and a set of pearl necklaces, Honayda Serafi managed to seduce the journalists and catch the eye of all the cameramen.Β 

For her part, the beauty-influenced designer Yara Al-Namlah has opted for a more discreet outfit, in the form of a beige R9 Designs long coat, combined with a carefully knotted brown scarf and a Hermes handbag.

This sporting event was therefore an opportunity to showcase the greatest Arabic clothing creations and to return all its glory to oriental fashion.Β 

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Saudi Arabia hosted the world’s most prized horse race

Published on 22 February 2021

#Horse racing