On the 25th of February, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will kick off the third installment of the world’s most valuable horse race — The Saudi Cup. With prize money of $10 million going to the winner, the Cup represents an enormous opportunity and attracts huge levels of interest. This year, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the Cup is introducing the world to the heritage of Saudi fashion like never before!

The Saudi Cup 2022 will serve as a platform to amplify Saudi heritage and identity in its 2022 racing season. As part of this, the Saudi Cup will highlight the inauguration of the Ministry of Culture Fashion Commission 2022 program where the Saudi 100 Brands will present the Kingdom’s rich and colorful fashion heritage by showcasing 15 Saudi designers who will show one-off pieces inspired by the Kingdom exclusively at the event.

With various fashion activations planned, The MOC Fashion Commission has unveiled the 2022 Saudi Cup Style Guide, in collaboration with Saudi fashion heritage expert Dr. Laila Albassam and illustrator Norah Sahman. Guests are encouraged to celebrate Saudi culture by dressing in styles inspired by the heritage costumes traditionally worn around the Kingdom or to champion outfits designed by the Saudi 100 Brands.

It’s all about the thobe

Attending the Cup or curious about the dress code? Look no further, here’s what Dr. Laila Albassam recommends.

Gentlemen, bishts, daglahs and sayahs are your go-to. A bisht can either be paired with a smart suit underneath or a traditional thobe. You’re advised to go all out with your thobe — pay attention to color, material, patterns and embroidery, because they allow you to be formal, but still stand out.

You’ve also got the option to opt for a daglah or sayah — both are similar, and can be categorized as a floor length coat, and they stand out thanks to their fitted cut and beautiful embroidery. The difference? A sayah is made from patterned fabric.

Ladies — it’s all about the thobe; however, pay attention to embroidery, color, sleeves, headdresses and layers, these are what you can use to stand out.

Dr. Albassam suggests going with a bight colored thobe. Red, for example, is a color that has always been popular in both luxurious and inexpensive fabrics. So you can go with a beautiful red thobe that won’t break the bank. If you’re going for a dark thobe, let the embroidery stand out by choosing bright colored threads. A style tip: embroidery featured on a panel across the entire vertical length on the front of the garment stands out on a slim-sleeved thobe.

Another option would be to layer. What with? A typical ensemble is comprised of an undershirt, sudairiah, thobe, trousers, a headpiece and veil. You can either achieve this look by layering the same color in different fabrics or go all white —historically, white on white layering was common among women in the Western region of the Kingdom.

Last but not least, one of the easiest ways to celebrate Saudi fashion heritage is through a headdress. You can go all out with an embroidered head covering, or opt for a simple straw hat, which used to be popular amongst Asiri women. You can also incorporate metal and jewelry into it or channel your inner stylist to create volume or drapes, as draping was popular among Saudi brides.

CURATION: @hatemalakeel // @authenticite_by_hatem_alakeel