“Coincidentally, next week I have a photo shoot for my handbag collection and the model is too late, so we end up taking pictures that I have drawn Hands. The photos turned out beautifully and got featured in iD. After that, whenever there is When it comes to friends’ weddings, I always refer to Tunisian or Libyan designs instead of doing the typical Indian or Arabic designs because they are so minimal. Slowly, I start adding my own touches – a little change here and there – Because I had to wear henna for a wedding occasion, and I didn’t want to show off a traditional design. So really, all of this happened because I had to find a design language that fit my aesthetic.”
Henna is not a big part of Nourie Flayhan’s culture but growing up in Kuwait, the Lebanese illustrator came to appreciate the tradition of seeing all her Kuwaiti friends adorn their hands during the annual Muslim Eid al-Fitr . Kuwait’s large South Asian community also meant her Indian friends would often return from their travels with henna-stained arms and feet. “I remember feeling like it was almost a rite of sisterhood because they were bound together by this shared design,” she laughs. “I would often sit in class and doodle designs on my hands and knees. My friends would encourage me to render them with henna tubes, but I never really understood or identified with traditional designs, although I could appreciate the Artistry.” Years later, that changed when she met Azilah on a visit to Dubai. “We were at a mutual friend’s house on movie night, and she was sitting in a corner, quietly applying henna to her hands. When she was done, I glanced over and saw the leopard prints on the back of her palms—unlike the usual Flowers are different than swirls—and the connection was made immediately. I was fascinated by how she used traditional mediums to express herself.” That admiration would later culminate in a beautiful collaboration, when Flayhan, commissioned by Azra, combined a design inspired by Sticker template for “tatreez”, Arabic is a style of cross-stitch embroidery unique to the Levant region for easy application of henna Azra prepared mehendi cones.