Not Without a Ghutra

The signature of #kcbDesigns is a ghutra. Nothing is complete without a ghutra somehow, somewhere.

A ghutra is a square cotton scarf men in Oman wear on their heads, wrapped and folded in styles that differ from place to place.

In some places, it is more common to see men and boys wearing a kumma – the round, embroidered cap. It is part of the official Omani attire, and, for example, all male students wear them.

The third common headgear is the musr – a square cashmere scarf, folded and wrapped meticulously and proudly. It is standard attire for official jobs, like running a country.

Or celebrating Eid or a wedding.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos would have worn a ghutra when he was at home in the Dhofar region near Yemen. The Dhofaris and Yemenis love the tassels and the best ghutras are made in Salalah.

It was at the souq in Salalah, when I was new to Oman in 2008, that I became intrigued by the vibrant colors, the delightful tassels, the potential for clothing design. See them hanging?

I’ve worn many as scarves, and made several sun dresses by sewing 2 together.

The possibilities are endless and now I am more creative.

I’ve used ghutras as part of some gowns.

Sometimes obvious, sometimes not.

They can be fanciful or quite elegant.

Sometimes I use them as shoulder covers for short-sleeved gowns.

Sometimes I cut them in half to make walking coats.

The ghutra is integral to my signature designs. I have several in my sewing room waiting for just the right inspiration. And I am always on the lookout for new colors.

I sometimes wonder if the late Majesty Sultan Qaboos would approve. He cared a very great deal about the image, the history, the culture of Oman, deliberately combining traditional and modern Oman as I try to do with #kcbDesigns.

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