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Lavender and the Kingdom: Vogue Arabia Celebrates Saudi Arabia’s New Color Identity

Photo: Abdulaziz Khallaf Aalshammari

In Spring, the desert dunes of Saudi Arabia, especially towards the north in Al-Jouf, are far from the arid landscape that many might imagine them to be. An open sea of lavender flowers stretches as far as the eye can see, dotted with elm and basil here and there. This explosion of nature is not only celebrated across the Kingdom, but has also been adopted as a symbol of the nation itself—a color representative of Saudi Arabia much like the green of its flag.

Vogue Arabia’s annual Saudi issue, out June 2023, highlights this very special hue and the strong message it carries with not one, but 10 extraordinary covers for which the magazine tapped 10 designers from the Kingdom to create bespoke lavender numbers. Each unique dress showcases the wide range of Saudi’s burgeoning talent, and is worn by a cast of 10 models. The twist comes in the cast—this time, the covers feature three Arab, and seven international faces, in an an effort to take the country’s fashion landscape to a global level and spotlight the incredible amount of creativity that the Kingdom has to offer.

A brief history of lavender and its relationship with Saudi Arabia

In May 2021, the Saudi Press Agency reported that through cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Saudi Arabia’s Royal Protocol, the Kingdom would now be using the color lavender for ceremonial carpets at official state receptions and occasions. According to the agency, “the reception ceremony carpets with their new identity reflect the state of renewal, growth, and renaissance in the Kingdom under the inspiring Vision 2030 program.”

The lavender carpet is not just limited to official government events and has found itself replacing the quintessential red carpet in the cultural and entertainment industries. Earlier this year in January, the 2023 Joy Awards saw local and international celebrities—including Sofia Vergara, Georgina Rodriguez, Hend Sabri, Rym Saidi, and Mila Al-Zahrani—walking down a lavender carpet as they arrived at one of the largest award ceremonies in the region.

These ceremonial carpets also feature another prominent symbol of Saudi culture and heritage, which is the traditional art of Sadu weaving which has been practiced by Bedouin women for a significant part of regional history. This celebration of lavender and by extension, Saudi Arabia itself, has also manifested in cultural events such as the first edition of the Land of Lavender Festival in April 2023. The 15-day event focused on taking pride in the Kingdom and honoring lavender as a symbol of this rising nation.

With the dreamy palette adding more accolades to its name by the day, we at Vogue Arabia thought there’s no time like the present to celebrate this beautiful union. Put on your lavender lenses, it’s time to look at Saudi Arabia in a new hue.

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