Saudi Arabia: Inspired by her time living in Tokyo, a young Saudi Arabian princess is the new face of fashion in an ultraconservative kingdom where dramatic reforms have sparked equal parts optimism and skepticism.
Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, the great-granddaughter of Saudi Arabia’s founder was named honorary president of the Arab Fashion Council in December.
The royal who turns 30 on Sunday, this month oversaw her country’s first Arab Fashion Week.
With a shayla headscarf draped over her hair, the princess is warm, welcoming and eloquent, the exact image that fans have hailed as the future of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has witnessed rapid policy change since the June appointment of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, son of the king and heir to his throne. From this summer, women will be allowed to drive in the kingdom. The crown prince has also hinted that the abaya, the neck-to-toe robe worn by women may no longer be compulsory.
The first Saudi Arabian edition of Arab Fashion Week opened on April 11, two weeks behind schedule under the eye of Princess Noura. Organised by the Arab Fashion Council, the event drew international attention both as a watershed in Saudi Arabia and for its controversial configuration which saw the shows restricted to women and banned to cameras. The line-up included Saudi Arabia’s own Arwa Banawi whose The Suitable Woman range is adored by fashionistas across the region.
Pictures of the event were taken by the fashion council’s photographers and released after the approval of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority.
The princess graduated from Tokyo’s Rikkyo University with a Master’s degree in International Business with a Japanese Perspective. She cites her time in Japan as a major influence on her approach to fashion, business and people at home.