New exhibition at Qasr Al Hosn will explore Abu Dhabi's history through its fashion

Fashion Through the Years, which includes pieces loaned from the Mother of the Nation, will look at stories of the emirate through clothing and accessories


Qasr Al Hosn is the ancestral home of the Al Nahyan and the oldest building on Abu Dhabi Island.
Qasr Al Hosn has witnessed the evolution of Abu Dhabi Island from a small coastal community to a world city. In that time, Qasr Al Hosn has been a fortified stronghold, a seat of rule, a royal home and a gathering place for the community.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

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A new exhibition showcasing the evolution of fashion trends in Abu Dhabi from the 1940s to 1980s is coming to Qasr Al Hosn.

Titled Fashion Through the Years, the show will explore the emirate’s history and stories of its people through clothing and accessories, as well as celebrate the heritage, craftsmanship and beauty of fashion. It runs from Wednesday, December 16, to Tuesday, February 16.

Items on display include more than 30 artefacts and garments of cultural importance, including necklaces gifted by Mother of the Nation Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak and an ornate burqa belonging to Fatima bint Mohamed bin Thani Al Mehairi.

Other highlights include a family album showing fashion trends from the 1960s to the 1980s and different types of traditional embroidery. There will also be intricate headpieces, early 20th-century sewing machines and more on display.

Traditional Emirati garments were often hand-sewed and hand-embroidered, and the exhibition will explore changes in social practices over the years.

“Fashion Through the Years is a fascinating exhibition providing a unique opportunity to explore clothing trends and methods of personal expression from decades ago. Visitors will be transported back in time to connect with the experiences of our ancestors and gain deeper insight into the UAE’s rich heritage,” says Salama Al Shamsi, director of Qasr Al Hosn.

“From burqas worn by women as they travelled from Al Wathba to Al Ain, to the historical significance of family men carrying a dagger and the surprising influence of the European fashion scene on gowns, the exhibition showcases the cultural significance of fashion in the emirate during the crucial four decades of development and nation-building.”

The exhibition is open Saturday to Thursday, 10am-7pm and on Friday, 2pm-7pm. Tickets cost Dh30.

More information is at