Fashion at the Saudi Cup

On 19 and 20 February 2021, distinguished guests from the world’s horse racing community gathered at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack for the Kingdom’s flagship racing event: the Saudi Cup, which has a prize fund of more than US$30 million – the largest of any horse race in the world. Around the world race meetings are popular in the fashion calendars globally, providing an opportunity for attendees to dress up and show off looks by their fashion designers and milliners. In this context, and this year for the first time in KSA, the Fashion Commission at the Ministry of Culture, collaborated with fashion heritage expert Dr. Laila Albassam and illustrator Norah Sahman to create a Dress Code for the Royal Enclosure. Racegoers are invited to dress for the races in outfits inspired by Saudi fashion heritage. The Dress Code complemented other major international horseracing festivals and embraced the excitement of dressing up for a day at the races and, like Royal Ascot, King Abdulaziz Racecourse will had its very own ‘Royal Enclosure’. Her Highness Princess Noura int Faisal Al Saud, Sector Development Director of the Fashion Commission at the Ministry of Culture, commented: "Saudi Arabia’s fashion heritage is rich and colourful. The Fashion Commission was pleased to have produced the dress code for The Saudi Cup 2021, as a wonderful platform to showcase Saudi heritage. “Our hope is that this work will inspire a contemporary generation to look to the past and, by understanding and referencing it, they will create clothes that embrace Saudi’s heritage and build a narrative for its future.” About the Saudi Cup • With a prize pool of more than US$30m, including a prize of US$20m for the winner of the Saudi Cup headline race, it attracted some of the international racing community’s greatest talent and enthusiasts. About Dr. Laila Albassam and Norah Sahman: • Dr. Laila Albassam is a Saudi heritage fashion expert and Professor of Traditional Costumes and Textiles at Princess Noura University in Riyadh. • Norah Sahman is a Riyadh-based freelance illustrator. What was special about the 2021 race? • This year, the very best of Saudi fashion heritage was on show as racegoers embraced this year’s Dress Code for the Royal Enclosure. • The Dress Code featured examples of heritage fashion outfits from all over the Kingdom designed to inspire racegoers when planning their outfits for the Saudi Cup. • Racegoers celebrated Saudi culture by dressing for the races in outfits inspired by Saudi heritage traditional costumes. • The Fashion Commission Dress Code was part of a whole range of cultural initiatives and activations at the 2021 Saudi Cup which included an Arabic Calligraphy Corner, winners’ rugs featuring ornate designs inspired by Arabic calligraphy and a competition to design the prizes for the 2022 Saudi Cup.