As Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli was working on the 2020 Draped in Heritage exhibition, she met with a young and promising UAE photography artist Layla Al Hamadi and chose her as one of the 20 profiles to celebrate the achievements of UAE women.
Layla is a photographer, with a love of social media, drawing, and sewing. She is concerned with recycling consumable materials and transforming them into new and useful pieces of art. She joined the military (reserve) force in 2015. She acts as an ambassador for volunteer work in the UAE in projects implemented by the Emirates Youth Foundation, Takatof, both inside and outside the country.
She chose to be photographed in one of her mother’s Amnah Mohammed Al Hamadi (born in 1963) outfits channeling her spirit through the gown and donating it to The Zay Collection.
Before the 1980s, it was common to employ contrasting colours and techniques within the components of the traditional dress. Women used to wear a thawb that contrasted with the tunic dress (Kandurah). Soon this evolved into a matching set known as (Thawb_wa_kandurah). By the 1990s, it developed further, as the two identical pieces were merged into one, attached at the neckline as they became a unified piece or combination overgarment tunic called (Thawb_kandurah) reserved for social events.
This example is called Thawb_kandurah (Mfahah) because of the paneled look of the overgarment. Traditionally, this style evolved out of frugality, when garments were made from several pieces of expensive fabric remnants. Over time it came to be recognized as a style in itself called Mfahah or (myaza’) or (Myarah).
However, in this example, the silk organza fabric comes ready made in vertical segments of red, orange, purple, and blue colour. They are separated by gold brocaded (Mzarai) chains that run the length of the fabric. In between these running chains alternating brocaded (Mzarai) medallion and Paisley (Kazuwah) motifs are also woven within the fabric.
This garment is densely machine embroidered (Mkhawar), in gold metallic thread (Zari), with arabesque motifs inspired by the overall brocaded shapes of the fabric. The embroidery accentuates the neckline (Bidhah) and central axis, as well as the sleeve cuffs (Hyul) of the red Satin silk inner tunic. The embroidery is then further accentuated with Rainbow radiant Swarovski iron-on crystals (Fsus).