Celebrating traditional Emirati dress: Clothing once owned by sheikhas brought out of storage for one-off shoot

In a special collaboration, 'The National' presents pieces from the archive of The Zay Initiative, the region's most comprehensive collection of traditional outfits

In a unique collaboration, The National's Luxury magazine was granted rare access to the archive of The Zay Initiative, an expansive collection of traditional clothing from across the region, collated by Dr Reem El Mutwalli.

The aim is to place a spotlight on the incredible wealth of clothing from this part of the world, so two collections were taken out of storage for the day.

Scroll through the gallery above to see the Luxury shoot.

First are precious bespoke looks once owned by sheikhas and other high-profile Emirati women, who passed them on them to The Zay Initiative.

The second is the Artist series, where The Zay Initiative asked female artists in the UAE to hand-paint a silk panel that was then transformed into a 'thawb kandurah'.

Dedicated to collecting and documenting the rich history of clothing in this region, The Zay Initiative also records the deeply personal stories that go with each piece, from how it was made to who owned it. As the UAE races into the 21st century, much of this sartorial knowledge risks being lost.

An expert in her field, Dr El Mutwalli spent 20 years collating at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation, where she built the Sultani Collection, on which The Zay Initiative was founded. Raised in the UAE and holding a PhD in Islamic Art, Dr El Mutwalli is uniquely placed to help preserve this priceless heritage.

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

Hidden killer

Sepsis arises when the body tries to fight an infection but damages its own tissue and organs in the process.

The World Health Organisation estimates it affects about 30 million people each year and that about six million die.

Of those about three million are newborns and 1.2 are young children.

Patients with septic shock must often have limbs amputated if clots in their limbs prevent blood flow, causing the limbs to die.

Campaigners say the condition is often diagnosed far too late by medical professionals and that many patients wait too long to seek treatment, confusing the symptoms with flu. 

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson

The Programme

Saturday, October 26: ‘The Time That Remains’ (2009) by Elia Suleiman
Saturday, November 2: ‘Beginners’ (2010) by Mike Mills
Saturday, November 16: ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (2013) by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Tuesday, November 26: ‘All the President’s Men’ (1976) by Alan J Pakula
Saturday, December 7: ‘Timbuktu’ (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako
Saturday, December 21: ‘Rams’ (2015) by Grimur Hakonarson