Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Banat Al-Balad: A Tribute to Saudi Architectural Heritage through Timeless Fashion

Saudi designer Makram Marzuki's fashion collection Banat Al-Balad, on display at Zainal House in Jeddah's famed Al-Balad neighborhood, skillfully blends past and present to recognize the city's rich cultural legacy. Jeddah native Marzuki purposefully used his city as the inspiration for this unique collection, aiming to capture the spirit of Al-Balad's coral stone, and limestone buildings, and elaborately adorned wooden rawashin windows.

1 of 5

The collection draws its inspiration from the elaborate beauty of Hijazi architecture, particularly focusing on the ornate rawashin and mangour window screen patterns that have long characterized the region's buildings. Rawashin, prominent in Hijazi architecture, refer to intricately carved wooden window frames or latticework screens integral to traditional houses in Jeddah and Makkah. These ornate wooden screens serve both practical and aesthetic functions, with mangour patterns inspiring the design of each textile piece in the collection.

Banat Al-Balad showcases the distinct beauty of Saudi women through 23 gowns worn by models representing the Kingdom's 13 regions. Together, artists Samaher Bashamakh and Ahmed Angawi reworked traditional wooden patterns into textiles, with weaving techniques from renowned mills contributing to the collection's creation.

2 of 5

Marzuki emphasized the Saudi visual identity in an interview, underscoring the significance of geometric elements. Zainal House, the venue for the showcase, holds historical importance as the first brick-built house in the area, designated as a UNESCO heritage site. Marzuki's meticulous attention to detail extended to the styling, with models adorned in "mihrama mudawara," a traditional Hijazi headscarf.

3 of 5

There are unique pieces in the collection, such as velvet attire crafted through intricate jacquard weaving, velvet inserts and hand-painted glitter-adorned evening gowns demonstrating exquisite workmanship. The bridal ensemble, a highlight, features guipure mangour lace and a silk organza veil adorned with French embroidery, reflecting around 400 hours of artisanal work.

4 of 5

Marzuki's designs also cater to practicality, with daywear focusing on comfort and wearability suitable for professional settings. Emphasizing modesty, the collection offers alternatives to traditional abayas, incorporating lace and bamboo fabric for warmer climates.

5 of 5

Exploring negative and positive space with perforated designs, the collection incorporates roshan-like patterns, with custom-made shoes integrating these elements. Each pattern draws inspiration from iconic houses like Matbouli, Ba Junaid, and Saloom House, reflecting their unique narratives.

Banat Al-Balad transcends being merely a fashion line, serving as a tribute to Jeddah's heritage by seamlessly blending tradition with innovation, exemplifying Saudi creativity and craftsmanship. Through community collaboration and meticulous attention to detail, Marzuki's collection embodies the essence of Saudi culture and heritage, aligning with the vision outlined in Saudi Vision 2030.

Share Article

Write a comment