Arabesque Festival: Brides of the Arab World- Kuwait and Qatar
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.
Kuwaiti Darra’ah and Thoub
This traditional Kuwaiti wedding outfit is made of silk embroidered with gold thread. It is similar to those worn throughout the Gulf region, where wedding ensembles typically consist of a darr’ah (dress) , thoub (overdress) and abayah (cloak). These outfits are accessorized with gold jewelry such as a hama (head accessory) a kaff (bracelet connected to five rigs), necklaces, a belt, bangles, bracelets and ankle bracelets.
Unlike those found in other Gulf States, the Kuwaiti thoub has an oval, not round, opening for the head. Brides originally wore black thoubs with embroidery around the neckline; in later years, influences from neighboring cultures led to the appearance of vibrant greens and reds embellished with rich patterns of needlework. The wealthiest families used gold thread and sometimes even attached gold coins to the dress.
Since Kuwaiti independence in 1961, brides have increasingly opted for white wedding gowns common in the West. Recently, however, they have begun reintegrating traditional costumes into their festivities, wearing the thoub and darra’ah for one part of the ceremony and the white dress for another.Qatar
Thoub al-Nashl, Darra’ah and Serwal
Both of these outfits- one off white, the other in red- consist of an Indian-silk trouser (serwal) and dress (darra’ah) worn under a baggy chiffon party dress (thoub al-nashl). All pieces are embroidered with gold thread, and the jewelry includes gold headpieces, necklaces and belts. Made in the second half of the 20th century, these are urban dresses from Doha, the capital of Qatar. The style dates from the early 20th century.
Such rich fabrics and valuable jewelry were accessible to only the wealthiest of women; those with more modest means wore similar styles made of less precious materials. After the wedding, the bride would don the dress for special occasions. This costume is still worn, although by relatives or close friends of the bride and not the bride herself. Women today tend to update the outfit, accessorizing it with contemporary jewelry.