Arabesque Festival: Brides of the Arab World- Algeria
All of these images and the text were showcased at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC from February 23-March 15, 2009.
I took the pictures and typed out the text in the exhibit.
Also called a jebba, this style of long, collarless velvet gown has been worn throughout eastern Algeria sine the 19th century. Much of its charm derives from the medjbood embroidery, which uses delicate gold thread to create arabesques and patterns inspired by local flora and fauna. Also popular is fetia embroidery, executed with a heavier gold thread. Dresses are usually in blue, green or deep red, and accessorized with fine gold jewelry and a belt made of gold coins.
Originally called a gandourat ksantina, this garment later became known as a after the Fergani family, the precursors of haute couture in Constantine. Women in all regions of eastern Algeria still wear a jebba fergani on their wedding day; often, these expensive dresses become heirlooms passed down from mother to daughter.
Worn by Berber women, this dress is made of silk printed with designs that are the same color as the fabric. It is decorated with multicolored rickrack, whose patterns vary from on Kabyle region to another. Tied around the dress is an apron, or fotta, considered the symbol of the Kabyle woman. The belt is made of colorful braided strands of wool, with pompons at each end. Dating back to the 19th century, this style was originally fashioned in wool; in the second half of the 20th century, silk, satin and brightly hued rickrack were introduced. Contemporary brides, especially those who can afford multiple outfits, often include such regional costumes among their wedding dresses (celebrations usually last for several days), accessorizing them with traditional Berber jewelry. Guests also sometimes wear this traditional style to weddings.