“In Moroccan culture, the sheikha is a sort of geisha,” explains Salima Chaieb. The designer who is also behind one of fashion’s favorite Instagram pages, has designed and styled the clothing for urban pop singer Manal’s latest single Niya and from the five million views and counting since the song’s debut on October 30th, it’s a hit. “She preserves her history and cultural heritage and cherishes her past glory,” continues Chaieb of the aura of the sheikha, which comes to vivid life in Niya. “She usually lives in a community with other ‘sheikhates’ and ending up alone is the price to pay to practice her art.”
The Moroccan sheikha is a model of women’s emancipation and Manal’s music video honors her golden age that ran from the Forties through to the Seventies. “Through the costume design, Manal chose to pay tribute to an extremely rich stylistic period in the Moroccan culture,” shares Chaieb, detailing that throughout this era, Moroccan kaftans were characterized by sumptuous fabrics such as saris, traditional patterns like the stripes, and typical embroidery from local artisans.
The single, featured above, called “Niya,” which translates to “naive,” sees Manal embody a sheikha who is in love wishing for a proposal that will never come.
Salima Chaieb takes Vogue Arabia through the Manal Niya music video top looks.
Manal with the “sheikhates” performing
Manal wears a 70s’ vintage plum-colored and golden toned kaftan-sari from a private collection. It is embellished with hand-braided gold silk thread along the hemline, and neckline, around the sleeves and in the front. A gold long silk skirt has been created and worn below the kaftan and the skirt is also embellished with hand-braided gold silk thread. The kaftan’s sleeves have been rolled up with designed silk elastic sleeve holders called tekhmales.
Manal alone / Pomegranate scene
The yellow and white striped garment is called a melheffe and is a typical fashion/ beauty accessory characteristic of this period. This melheffe has been designed with a Moroccan traditional fabric named jawhara : a silk satin fabric with jacquard stripes woven with gold threads. Under the yellow and white melheffe, Manal is wearing an ivory crêpe kaftan embellished with hand-braided ivory silk thread tone on tone. The kaftan’s sleeves have been rolled up with crêpe elastic sleeve holders (tekhmales). The shoulders are hold with vintage gold plated brooches.
Manal surrounded by petals
In this scene, we chose an ancestral Moroccan fabric called “Benchrif” and more specifically “bahja.” This fabric is characterized by its floral embroidery rich in color and recognizable in Moroccan culture. Bahja also respects the stylistic period since it has been produced by the Benchrif House long before the French protectorate.
Manal at home with the other “sheikhates”
Manal is at home and wears white in her intimacy. She wears an English embroidery vintage one-piece kaftan. She also wears an English embroidery petticoat with a traditional hand-braided tone on tone silk thread 7 cm wide belt called “mdamma.” The kaftan’s sleeves have been rolled up with English embroidery elastic sleeve holders.
Manal’s Niya Video Co-Directing : Manal Benchlikha and Amira Azzouzi Director of photography : Oussama Hedda Composer : Blaise Batisse – Mounir Maarouf – Manal and NYZK Music Production : Moonchild Records Producer : Bench & Guess Entertainment Executive Production : Jacaranda Production Styling : Salima Chaieb – Sacha Photographer : Amira Azzouzi Cover : Sarah Addouh Illustrator : Ilyas Koundi Management : Moncef Guessous & Anissa Jalab