Arts & Culture

In Photos: Traveling Through Time with Egyptian Costume Design

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In Photos: Traveling Through Time with Egyptian Costume Design

Layali Eugenie (Eugenie Nights, 2018) Ramadan series – costumes set in the 1940s. Costumes by Yasmin El Kady.

Egyptian cinema has a long, extensive history, and is considered the region’s entertainment industry leader, producing a multitude of films and television series each year, and attracting viewers from all across the Arab world. 

That being said, the industry has undoubtedly had its ups and down over the years, however Egyptian cinema has always managed to step up its game and give audiences what they want. One can say it always seems to adapt to the culture and trends at hand. 

Ramadan is always one of the most important times of year for Egyptian television, with a number of new shows constantly being introduced, as such, the industry constantly strives to produce new and fresh ideas. 

Bent Esmaha Zat (A Girl Named Zat, 2013) Ramadan series – costumes set in the early 1970s. Costumes by Monia Fath El Bab.

Although period pieces have never quite been one of Egyptian show business’ strong suits, every now and then, the industry attempts to create a show-stopping period piece that seems to create an air of nostalgia to an Egypt that once was. This has most especially been the case in recent years, as every Ramadan has had to introduce at least one or two new period pieces. 

Bent Esmaha Zat (A Girl Named Zat, 2013) Ramadan series – costumes set in the 1960s/70s. Costumes by Monia Fath el Bab.

What is most especially tricky about period pieces however, other than the extensive research that must be done and the attention to detail when it comes to props and set design and so on, is the costumes. Costumes must be meticulously accurate to the depiction of the time period at hand. One can perhaps get away with an inaccurate prop or two in the background, but costume mistakes seldom go unnoticed.

Bent Esmaha Zat (A Girl Named Zat, 2013) Ramadan series – costumes set in the early 1980s/90s. Costumes by Monia Fath el Bab.

While some recent television series have been examples of great costume design in Egyptian entertainment history, there are others that were not quite up to par with international standards of costume design for film and television—this could come as a result of a multitude of reasons, from budgeting to lack of adequate research. 

In any case, the costumes are always wonderful to look at and they always manage to intrigue viewers and transport them through time. Perhaps the more recognition these costumes, and the effort that goes into putting them together, the more this aspect of filmmaking will keep developing and mesmerizing us over time.

Saraya Abdeen (Abdeen Palace, 2014) Ramadan Series – costumes set in the mid-to-late 19th century. Costumes by Dina Nadim.
Saraya Abdeen (Abdeen Palace, 2014) Ramadan Series – costumes set in the mid-to-late 19th century. Costumes by Dina Nadim.
Saraya Abdeen (Abdeen Palace, 2014) Ramadan Series – costumes set in the mid-to-late 19th century. Costumes by Dina Nadim.
Grand Hotel Ramadan series (2016) – costumes set in the 1950s. Costumes by Yasmin el Kady.
Grand Hotel Ramadan series (2016) – costumes set in the 1950s. Costumes by Yasmin el Kady.
Grand Hotel Ramadan series (2016) – costumes set in the 1950s. Costumes by Yasmin el Kady.
Layalina 80 (1980s Nights, 2020) Ramadan series – costumes set in the 1980s. Costumes by Maha Baraka and Khaled Abdel Aziz.
Layalina 80 (1980s Nights, 2020) Ramadan series – costumes set in the 1980s. Costumes by Maha Baraka and Khaled Abdel Aziz.
Layalina 80 (1980s Nights, 2020) Ramadan series – costumes set in the 1980s. Costumes by Maha Baraka and Khaled Abdel Aziz.
Hareit el Yahood (The Jewish Quarter, 2015) Ramadan series – costumes set in the late 1940s. Costumes by Monia Fath el Bab.
Hareit el Yahood (The Jewish Quarter, 2015) Ramadan series – costumes set in the late 1940s. Costumes by Monia Fath el Bab.
Hareit el Yahood (The Jewish Quarter, 2015) Ramadan series – costumes set in the late 1940s. Costumes by Monia Fath el Bab.
Layali Eugenie (Eugenie Nights, 2018) Ramadan series – costumes set in the 1940s. Costumes by Yasmin el Kady.
Layali Eugenie (Eugenie Nights, 2018) Ramadan series – costumes set in the 1940s. Costumes by Yasmin el Kady.
Layali Eugenie (Eugenie Nights, 2018) Ramadan series – costumes set in the 1940s. Costumes by Yasmin el Kady.

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A believer in all things art. Loves writing, acting, theatre and pretending to know how to cook.

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