This combination overgarment (thawb_kandurah) was donated to The Zay Initiative by the Emirati poet Fatimah al Hashmi (@liyaaly). She is a close friend of Dr. Reem Tariq el Mutwalli and an avid supporter of The Zay Initiative.
Fatimah attained a high school degree and is a wife to her maternal cousin, and mother to a son and daughter. She was one of the UAE female poets of the eighties, who began publishing her poems and literary writings under various pseudonyms, such as Abu Dhabi Nights, Um Khaled Nights, Wanat Alam or Layali. However, in her most recent four publications in 2019 and 2020, she opted to use her full name.
Before the 1980s, it was common to employ contrasting colours and techniques within the components of UAE traditional dress. Women used to wear an overgarment (thawb) that contrasted with the tunic dress (kandurah) underneath. Soon this evolved into matching sets known as (thawb_wa_kandurah), where the two garments were made of the same or matching fabrics and colours. By the late 1990s, this evolved further, as the two separate articles were merged into one and became attached at the neckline, utilising the inner tunic as lining and creating a combination overgarment tunic called thawb_kandurah.
This example of the combined overgarment tunic dress (thawb_kandurah), is composed of a vibrant fuchsia (busi) pink gold metallic banarsi brocade (zari), in repetitive paisley motif (kazu) creating the upper layer or (thawb). It is lined by an inner plain, but matching, fuchsia pink lightweight, dull-finished crêpe georgette tunic (kandurah). The two garments are attached by sharing one neckline opening.
The shared neckline and central axis (bidhah) continue the nineties trend of a larger open neckline that allowed for more cleavage, to accentuate western-style jewellery.
In this example, the embroidered outline of the central axis has evolved into an oblong V-shape, where the wider edge starts at the shoulder line and the lower point reaches the crotch line, rather than the traditional square format with a central stem found on most similar examples. This outlined shape is embroidered drawing inspiration from the gold brocaded (zari) paisley shapes (kazu) woven on the fabric. Pairs of, one large and one smaller paisley motif are uniformly scattered within this V-shape with other floral and arabesque motifs filling in the area. The whole embroidery work (khwar) is done in metallic antique gold thread (zari) and accentuated with minute Swarovski crystals in clear and smoked tones. Matching embroidery adorn the sleeve cuffs of the inner tunic kandurah.