He persuaded the emir to serve the palace dinners in courses, starting with a soup, next meat, fowl or fish and ending with a dessert or fruit and nuts. This became popular not only with the members of the royal court but also with the rest of the inhabitants of the city, including Christians and Jews, right down to the most humble citizens.
Ziryab taught local craftsmen how to make leather table cloths and replaced the wooden platters with ceramics and the metal goblets with crystal.
Women were interested in what he had to suggest and when he opened a beauty parlour in the centre of the city, they flocked to it. Spanish women normally wore their hair long, covering their ears and with a centre parting. They had a long braid down the back. Ziryab introduced shorter, shaped styles, leaving the ears uncovered and often with a fringe. He showed them how to shape their eyebrows and remove body hair. He also introduced new perfumes and cosmetics. Many of his innovations came from the elite Baghdad society--Baghdad at the time was the world's most cosmopolitan city. Others were his own inventions. And because he was so popular, they became the fashion, as did his influence on dress.