This cloak (abayah) was donated by Mariam Abdullah Al Murr, a socialite from Dubai, and was worn for only a brief period of time as a part of a short lived fashion trend that came, played a role, and then disappeared.
Mariam, a BS graduate of American University Sharjah and works at Dubai tourist authority. She is married to her maternal cousin and has 2 daughters and 3 sons.
This cloak is an interesting example of an evolved abayah. The growth of the cosmopolitan social and commercial life of Dubai at the start of the new century led to a level of cross-cultural fertilization that resulted in the development of Arabic clothing with western influences. Women in Dubai were generally the first to experiment with such novel trends.
If you imagine a square fabric, spread it on a flat surface, and fold the corners so they meet at the center, you have basically created the shape of this cloak (abayah). A diamond-shaped gusset signifies this centre point where the fabric is gathered and attached.
This abayah is made from a stretchy lustrous synthetic silk and employs a highly stylised cape format, used to accentuate the figure by draping to create a silhouette, in contrast to their earlier baggy, shapeless cousin. This type of cloak (abayah) was worn in public for everyday use and became popular as a fashion statement to show more of the wearer’s body shape while still adhering to traditional customs.