Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Part 4: Ms Possum in Saudi Arabia: A Saudi Royal Wedding with Gowns from Paris!

October 5, 2012
saudi-wedding-gowns

Ms Possum finds Paris in Riyadh

There are weddings and there are weddings but it is not till one has attended a Royal Saudi Wedding, that one realises it cannot be beaten in opulence and extravagance.

The resourceful Ms “L”, who was already on the guest list, managed to score an additional invite for the visiting Ms Possum in the form of a beautifully embossed personalised card. Ms Possum was sooo excited to be an honoured guest as this was to be a Who’s Who of female Saudi Royalty.

Saudi weddings start late at night and are women-only events, bar a short interlude where the groom and close male members pay tribute to the bride.  The males had their own separate low key event the previous night as weddings in Saudi Arabia are not about them!

So, it all started at 10pm in a venue more akin to a Palace than a Wedding Reception Hall.  Into the “Abayah Check- in Area” where the black robes are thrown off to reveal real women beneath.  Then into the main Hall, full of multitudinously gigantic and sparkling chandeliers.

And glory it was – hundreds of gorgeous women in Parisian designer gowns and dripping with the most exquisite diamond and precious stone encrusted jewellery. Ms Possum having a penchant for both shiny things and immaculately cut gowns, quickly calculated that the average spend of each person in the room would have amounted to a quarter of a million dollars each.  Ms Possum would have had to become world notorious to enter this sort of league and she wholeheartedly regretted not throwing a whole heap of cubic zirconiums into her luggage to at least emulate the part a tad more!

These Saudi beauties, who had gone to Paris to be specifically kitted out for the occasion, would not have been out of place in Vogue and they  flitted here and there like iridescent butterflies revelling in a few hours of freedom before being re-cocooned in black invisibility. Here was their chance to be spotted by their future mothers-in-law and discreet enquiries were being made this very night regarding family ranking and status. Where else could a potential bride be so chosen looking at her Abayah-less best?

All of these wonderful creatures came with impeccable manners, modest necklines and were beautifully coiffed and macquillaged. It was a sight to behold from one of the many luxurious chaises lounges that surrounded the “catwalk” where the bride was to make her triumphant entrance and not dissimilar to having front row seats at Paris Fashion Week.

So, it was a chance to sit back and view a cross section of Parisian gowns in one location.  The Mother of the Bride wore Jean Paul Gaultier – a  fitting dark strapless number with shocking pink, vertically draping sleeves that billowed as she walked. Ms Possum was told it was a choice between that or a red Armani purchased just in case.

The Mother of the Groom was stunning in an off the shoulder sapphire blue Givenchy.  And the younger, beautiful sister of the bride wearing a  taupe empire lined Elie Saab with exquisite detailing – this designer does a lot of work in the Middle East for such occasions.

Ms Possum’s personal “best” was the wafer thin girl in purple Dior gown with off the shoulder “waves” of layered peplums; then more “waves”   cascading from the fitted waist to the ground. Ms Possum thought it would not have looked out of place in Gone with the Wind!

But there was more to come to astound the now giddy, moon-eyed Ms Possum – tune in for the next installment.

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Part 3: Ms Possum has Dinner at the NZ Embassy

September 25, 2012

The NZ Embassy had heard Ms Possum was coming and arranged for her and the Prince to come to a formal Dinner. The Diplomatic Quarter houses many fine Embassies that are next door to each other and not unexpectedly, armed guard security into this exclusive enclave was par for the course. So it was an utter privilege for Ms Possum to attend and to meet the NZ and Australian Ambassadors along with other diplomats and ex pats for a night of degustatory delight! Ms Possum was well entertained in hearing everyone’s interesting stories and reciprocated with some of her own. In this amazing setting, diplomatic status meant that Western norms took precedence over the strict protocol of the Islamic world outside and Ms Possum pondered deeply at the huge juxtaposition between the two worlds.

Ms Possum's Embassy Dinner

But the Royal Wedding beats the cake! Yes, this ziggurat shaped tower of a cake reached up to the chandelier of a very high ceiling. Ms Possum had never seen such a big cake in all her life and was a wee bit worried when guests were digging into the mid section and wondering if the whole structure would be undermined! Very few outsiders are ever invited to such a prestigious affair and Ms Possum concluded it was about as difficult to go to Kate and Wills wedding as it was to be there. Needless to say, she was as excited as a possum in a pear tree could be to have scored an invite.

Find out next week what goes on at a Royal Saudi Wedding and more of Ms Possum’s adventure in the Magic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

And if you’d like to catch up on the story so far, click here.

Part 2: Definitely Not Breakfast At Tiffany’s & Ms Possum Meets the Prince

September 19, 2012

So Ms Possum has arrived in Riyadh and chauffeur driven to the Al Khozama Hotel. The wonderful Ms L coincided briefly there and went through the action-packed itinerary that would see them through the next few days and then it was Pumpkin time; ie: time for all good possums to hit the hay.

The next morning, the Abayah clad Ms Possum was rearing to go and went down to breakfast – a sole female in a dining room awash with white-robed Arabian men with a few international businessmen to boot. A girl dreams of undivided male attention – but not this sort – the body language signalled “what on earth was an unaccompanied female doing breakfasting in our vicinity?”

Ms Possum was not to be phased and happily chatted away to the curious waiters as if this was the most natural thing in the world for her. The whole team of all male hotel staff got used to the irrepressible Ms Possum and came to expect a cheery Hello from her. They remembered how she liked her eggs; were surprised when she asked about their lives; totally intrigued how a lone girl had come to Saudi Arabia to do business and blown away when they realised which Prince had sponsored the visit. They became quite protective of Ms Possum in ensuring she got into the right car and was safe and the little posy of flowers as a farewell was a touching gesture.Ms Possum's breakfast

Armed with a suitcase full of possum samples and pressies, Ms Possum met the Prince at his Business HQ. Having been educated and employed in the UK a few moons ago, the Prince’s English was impeccable and his manner genial. The Prince is a Philanthropist and has many charities – one of which was to assist disadvantaged women into meaningful work. The brief: to design Bedouin inspired décor or clothing in possum fur in such a way so that local women could incorporate their own local craft into the equation. Ms Possum sooo approved of this noble cause and subsequently came up with a modular concept where designs can be mixed and matched in plated form to provide the basis for throws, rugs, garment linings, wall hangings, etc. Then local women could hand weave their own backings and attach Egyptian braids or plaits to embellish. (Click pictures to enlarge.)

Ms Possum's take on a classic Bedouin design ...then multiplied out a few times ...then tassels added Ms Possum's take on a Bedouin tent Design repeated as many times as required Ms Possum's inspiration was from a camel saddle Design multiplied out a few times ...or just as a luxurious tasselled cushion Arabian geometric design Multiplied out a few times ...or adding mixing and matching with another design ...or the whole gee-whizz shebang Ms Possum's take on Arabian herringbone Design multiplied out a few times Ms Possum's take on Arabian Houndstooth Multiplied out a few times Cushions, pillows, throws & rugs can all be made from these modular designs

The next instalment is all about Ms Possum’s delicious dinner with diplomats! (To follow the never-ending story click here.)

Ms Possum Goes to Saudi Arabia

September 13, 2012

Arabian Possum Fur Kaftan by Possum NZ

Part 1:
VIP Treatment at Riyadh Airport

Ms Possum receives many customised orders, but this one was a bit more unusual than most. The elegant Ms L, a Kiwi ex-pat resident of Saudi Arabia for 29 years, came back Downunder for a holiday and requested a possum fur-lined Furwah (pronounced Farawah), an Arabian kaftan type garment for a colleague of hers.  (See the story here.) Little did Ms Possum suspect it was for a Prince belonging to the line of Al-Saud, who discovered so much oil in the desert decades earlier and were catapulted from being Bedouin herdsmen to the ruling elite.

So when, much later on, the Prince wanted to know more about possums from New Zealand, he asked the obliging Ms L, to arrange Ms Possum’s all expenses paid visit on his behalf.

nz to saudi mapMs Possum was honored to be invited but also a tad apprehensive. Ms Possum, intrepid traveller, relieved that the terrorist bombings were not at Riyadh where she was going; swotted up on Islamic culture and history and armed herself with a few words of Arabic. Off she went hoping that any driver she might have in her travels would not pass out in the 50 degree heat causing Ms Possum to take the wheel and end up getting herself in a spot of trouble!

Ms Possum was a little stunned to be on a flight with umpteen rows of work weary Filipino men who were doing another stint of construction labour in this oil rich land.  She donned her own elegant jet black Abayah (obligatory female cloak covering the entire body but not the head) with matching neck scarf just in time for touchdown and wondered what adventures would befall her.

ms possum wearing an abayahThe VIP treatment started right at Riyadh Airport where she was greeted by the Prince’s assistant as soon as she got off the plane and ushered into a Private Security Clearance room with a whole team of Border Control men with nothing to do but to put Ms Possum’s little piece of hand luggage through her own dedicated X-ray machine and stamp her passport.  Then through the extensive Room for Women (full of couches, prayer mats and bathroom) to freshen up and out to a waiting limo with suitcase collected for her.

You won’t believe what happens next when Ms Possum meets the Prince. Tune in next week!

Ms Possum and the Arabian Nights

October 1, 2010

Well, my little fur aficionados, I’m going to tell you a story about my latest furry creation.

A few weeks ago, there was a knock on the factory door by an elegant ex-pat Kiwi female who has been working in Saudi Arabia for the past 28 years.

She wanted a Possum NZ rendition of a Saudi “Farawah” which is an Arabian kaftan and it was to be made in the traditional style BUT lined with our fab possum fur. She was positive that this NZ spin on an Arab classic would win the hearts and minds of those within her adopted land.

“Sure” I said, as Ms Possum is always obliging, and thought she could work it all out in her head afterwards. After much head banging, she did!!

My client said that the Saudi guys have these gorgeous big tents out in the desert and at night when the temperature plummets, they light fires over braziers, drink the famous coffee made from long spouted silver pots and eat sweet dates and delicacies, while reclining on divans of hand knotted rugs. It is a time when the guys get together and perhaps it is not at all dissimilar to Kiwi guys hanging out in their sheds. Of course, women can come too and enjoy the welcoming Saudi hospitality as my client had done many a time.

What better way to enjoy life but to wrap up warmly in a possum fur lined Farawah in sub-zero temperatures, telling stories over a blazingly warm open fire and feeling at one with the world? After feasting, one could merely curl up on the divan and use the Farawah as an enormous possum throw and be as snug as a bug in a rug. Yes, that is the life, but a life far removed from Ms Possum’s reality!Ms Possum tags along for the ride with a Saudi Prince

But, Ms Possum could imagine one of her furry creations decking the back of a Saudi Prince, who would be riding into the sunset of an Arabian night, astride a noble camel. If only Ms Possum could tag along for the ride!! No, Ms Possum is not a contributing author for Mills and Boon, but every now and again, she likes to let her imagination run a tad wild…

So, Ms Possum obtained the best wool fabric which was heavy enough to take the weight of 35 scrummy possum fur hides and adopted a tailored garment approach to the entire construction. The weight of the article meant that all seams had to be carefully reinforced but the result was amazing and it would be impossible to feel cold bedecked in such a manner!

Arabian Possum Fur Kaftan by Possum NZLet me know if you know any Saudi Princes who would want similar… or what about a Farawah party whereby the girls can have shocking pink or bright green possum fur lined Farawahs – oohhh scrumptious!! Yes, my dahlings, Ms Possum just adores bright and leery colours and can do that for any Princess. Just add all the famous 24 carat gold bling as well and Ms Possum would feel right at home!!

So, my lovelies, another market for Ms Possum to get her tenacious claws into! If you know any fantastically wealthy Saudi Princes or Princesses who would want similar… tell them Ms Possum will hand deliver the garments herself should they wish to send her a return first class air ticket on Emirates!