DUBAI: On Monday night, Jordan’s Queen Rania hosted the pre-wedding henna night celebrations for Saudi Arabia’s Rajwa Al-Saif, who will marry Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II on June 1.
Al-Saif looked radiant in an ethereal white creation by celebrity-loved Saudi designer Honayda Serafi, who spoke to Arab News about the meaning behind the fashion statement.
“When I first got the call, I was extremely happy and proud to be part of this exceptional and historical moment. What I am especially proud of is communicating the love story between the crown prince and Rajwa in the design itself,” Serafi told Arab News, adding that she was first briefed about the design at the end of February 2023.
“The brief was that she wanted to wear something very modest and something from Saudi Arabian culture, but with a modern twist. She wanted the piece to be very elegant, and she also wanted it to be white,” added Serafi, whose label Honayda became the first Saudi fashion brand to be showcased at luxury London department store Harrods in 2022.
For the gown, Serafi took inspiration from the Al-Shaby thobe of the Najd region in Saudi Arabia, where Al-Saif’s family is from.
“The thobe is known for its long sleeves. They’re so long, the sleeves become the veil of the bride’s dress,” said Serafi.
“The white color usually symbolizes purity and elegance. And there is a beautiful meaning to a bride wearing white. However, the henna dress is not really known to be white. So, this is a modern and new take,” added Serafi, talking about Al-Saif’s desire to wear white on the occasion.
Another bride who wore white to celebrate her henna party recently was Al-Saif’s future sister-in-law, Princess Iman bint Abdullah II, ahead of her marriage with Jameel Alexander Thermiotis, which took place on March 12.
Serafi wanted the henna party gown to reflect a new era of Saudi fashion, one that is modern yet rooted in tradition and history.
Apart from the references to Al-Saif’s Saudi heritage, the dress also has nods to Jordanian culture in honor of the bride’s future family.
Serafi included the seven-pointed white star that is present on the Jordanian national flag, which symbolizes the seven verses of Surat Al-Fatiha in the Qur’an, as well as the “seven hills Amman was built on,” the designer explained.
“The symbol is a protection for the couple’s eternal love,” she added.
Other details in the dress include Saudi Arabia’s palm trees, which symbolize life and vitality, as well as a verse by famous Tunisian poet Aboul Qacem Echebbi, which translates to, “When my eyes see you, life becomes right,” etched into the dress in Arabic lettering.
“My intention behind designing this dress was to document the eternal love and the history of the royal wedding. And, of course, I have used traditional threads and it is all hand embroidered,” said Serafi.
“This is a big moment for the brand to be part of such a historical (event). It is such an honor and I feel that I’m very, very proud to represent Saudi designers, as well as to communicate to the new generation how to not only honor Saudi Arabia’s historical identity and heritage, but to express it in a modern way,” she added.