Who is Reema Dahbour, the Jordanian designer behind Princess Iman’s henna party dress?

The creative is committed to keeping Palestinian craft traditions alive in her decidedly modern designs

Queen Rania shared a photo of Princess Iman ahead of her wedding henna party. Photo: Queen Rania / Instagram
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“I’m so grateful … I don’t have any words,” was fashion designer Reema Dahbour’s reaction to Princess Iman of Jordan donning one of her dresses for the royal’s henna ceremony.

The floor-length embroidered white dress with bell sleeves was paired with the white and gold sash belt that Princess Iman’s mother, Queen Rania, wore for her own wedding to King Abdullah II in 1993.

Princess Iman will marry her fiance, Jameel Thermiotis, on Sunday, according to the Royal Palace.

“Crafting a garment befitting a royal of such grace and elegance has been both a challenging and rewarding experience for our team,” Dahbour wrote on Instagram, alongside a video of the henna ceremony.

“We have poured our hearts and souls into creating a piece that not only embodies the regality of the occasion but also reflects the unique personality of the princess. It is truly an honour to contribute to this momentous occasion.”

While she initially studied business and began her career in the corporate field, the Jordanian-Palestinian designer ultimately decided to pursue her love of fashion and launched her eponymous label in 2014.

Focusing on evening and bridalwear, with a spin-off label called Tahiyya that specialises in women’s suiting, Dahbour is committed to revitalising traditional Palestinian embroidery. Her central vision is “to contribute to the preservation of her heritage by giving the Palestinian cross-stitch a makeover, taking it out of its traditional milieu and asserting its continued presence for generations to come".

She works with a team of refugee women and local micro-enterprises to bring this idea to fruition. Embroidery is transposed onto hot pink or midnight blue dresses adorned with oversized bows; picked out in red and combined with Swarovski crystals on mikado satin; or set across the bodice of a pleated ruffle gown in delicate lilac.

“Throughout the years, the fashion capitals helped in shaping the fashion industry around the world, but not my part of the world, not my country, not my culture,” the designer says. “We were forced to be on hold.”

Dahbour has dressed plenty of brides, although none quite as high profile as Princess Iman, as well as celebrities such as Syrian singer Faia Younan, who wore a white dress and cape covered in geometric prints inspired by the night sky, for her performance at Elephant Rock in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla last year.

And now, with a royal bride among her many fans, the plan is to “keep creating and keep innovating”, Dahbour says.

Updated: May 23, 2023, 10:42 AM