To say that the world's eyes are fixed firmly on Saudi at the moment would be something of an understatement. The forward-thinking sea change in tandem with Saudi Vision 2030 is head-spinning in its momentum, although we can't help but wonder if it's indicative of exactly how progressive, even renegade, KSA has been for a while, if only under the surface. Or - in this instance - under the abaya.
It's something that Jeddah-based Luxury Consultant and Journalist Marriam Mossalli is only too aware of, publishing a book of the same name in partnership with Cadillac and launching it at the Art Books Jeddah Fair in February. The first ever Saudi street-style book, no less.
With the laudable intent to "expose the Saudi female’s unique versatility," Under the Abaya is a collection of photographs submitted by the women themselves, and designed to live on beyond the book via an online initiative that encourages girls to send in their images, too.
Edgy, creative, surprising; the images are as eye-opening as they are inspiring, serving as a peephole - and a wake-up call to the rest of us - to a culture that is truly coming into its own on the world stage, finally having been given the opportunity to showcase its women's "adventurous style, enigmatic persona, and how [they] celebrate this newfound era of fashion independence." In the weeks after the inaugural Saudi Fashion Week, we can't wait to see how this evolves even further.
"Under the Abaya presents our fashion, but more importantly the woman wearing it - the progressive Saudi woman who has always existed but has yet to be revealed to the world," they say. And what a revelation that is. The world, no doubt, continues to watch.
Photos: Courtesy of Under the Abaya. Pre-order it here: undertheabayaksa.com