Before the SWAF show in Riyadh, giant screens behind the runway played a video montage of designer Alya Al-Sawwaf working in her studio. She was pinning tulle into pleats, fluffing up the ruffles on a wedding gown, and painting loose glitter onto silk organza. The finished dresses in her show were appropriately glam and over the top, ending with a bride whose train stretched nearly 12 meters. 

 Al-Sawwaf is based in Jeddah, a more liberal port city, and her circle of high-net-worth friends and family members likely serve as her sounding board—and IRL models.