Everything There Is to Know About Kaftans
The kaftan, which comes in a variety of designs and materials, is a universally appealing outfit with an unmistakable bohemian charm. It is comfortable to wear and considered by many as their go-to apparel for any season because of its adaptable beauty and form, which provides proper coverage while gracefully flowing with the body's natural motion. It may be accessorised with jewellery or left unadorned for some serious relaxing. It has many uses and is elegant and cosy. I mean, what's not to love about kaftans?
A Brief History of Kaftans
The kaftan, or caftan, may not have a single origin. Similar tunic-like patterns have arisen all across the world in a variety of diverse cultures, from the Japanese kimono to the West African boubou. However, Mesopotamia, which encompasses modern-day Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, is where the precise kaftan designs we know today are most likely to have their roots.
Ottoman sultans wore exquisite kaftans fashioned of pricey textiles as a method to demonstrate their authority and position from the 12th century until the early 20th. As a sign of their political skill, sultans frequently gave distinguished generals and visitors lovely kaftans. Eventually, kaftans found their way to Morocco and North Africa, where they were adopted as an essential part of local attire.
The Ottoman Empire saw a rapid increase in the popularity of this garment, which quickly turned into a status and affluence symbol. The caftan evolved into a means of expressing the wearer's position since it was made from opulent materials with elaborate embroideries. The caftans quickly gained power when Moroccan judges accepted it as the preferred attire.
When Queen Victoria's granddaughter married Czar Nicolas II at the turn of the 20th century, she became Czarina Alexandra and was pictured wearing a traditional kaftan dress. The richness of the outfit piqued people's desire for the exotic fashion that was all the rage in Victorian England. The caftan saw a second, marginally more recent renaissance in the middle of the 1950s when Balenciaga's voluminous trapeze and sack maxi dresses were well-liked.
The 1960s then came around. The caftan came into its own when Yves Saint Laurent and his influential infatuation with Marrakesh met Diana Vreeland's love of travel and exotic clothing, which was prominently highlighted in the pages of Vogue. When the free-loving, rock 'n roll movement adopted the must-have caftan, everyone from Bianca Jagger to Anjelica Huston loved the effortlessly elegant style for day and night. At that point, fashion and music were inextricably interwoven.
Kaftans’ Fashion Milestones
Kaftans began to progressively permeate Western fashion around the start of the 20th century and continued for several decades. Designers such as Paul Poiret and Mario Fortuny began creating kaftan-like gowns and robes for women in the early twentieth century, drawing inspiration from Middle Eastern and North African heritage.
Such clothing was seen to be avant-garde and inventive, a far cry from the corseted, form-fitting designs that had long dominated Western fashion. Although the new trends weren't very successful, they helped pave the way for a more emancipated aesthetic that eschewed constricting clothing in favour of loose, curve-free proportions.
Kaftans, which were inspired by the cinched-waist fashions of the 1940s and 1950s, didn't really catch on in the United States until the early 1960s. At that time, chic Vogue editor Diana Vreeland visited Morocco and was charmed by the country's kaftans. She started donning vibrant kaftans while at work and declared them to be "the most becoming apparel ever devised" in a Vogue article.
The article had appeared in several editorials in the magazine by 1966, and well-known designers like Emilio Pucci, Yves Saint Lauren, and Oscar de la Renta were creating their own kaftans for the runways. The clothing was popular among celebrities at the same time (most notably Elizabeth Taylor). The vivid patterns and free-flowing style of kaftans fit very well with the era's "ethnic" aesthetics, and they were loved equally by wealthy socialites and free-loving hippies.
The kaftan's popularity persisted well into the middle of the 1970s when it began to fade off runways and be mostly promoted as resort wear. The loose style of the kaftan dress was completely superseded in the 1980s by more shape-conscious trends like huge shoulder pads and spandex.
But the kaftan dress has had yet another rebirth in the last ten years. Kaftans and tunic summer dresses first appeared in 2014 collections from brands including Stella McCartney, Gucci, and Roberto Cavalli, with models like Kristina Hendricks praising their ease and adaptability. Today, kaftans are still a go-to choice for the summer months because of their flexibility and elegant comfort.
Kaftans in the Arab world
The kaftan's prominence has surpassed boundaries, and its beauty is recognized and admired all over the world. The outfits sparkle brightly like stars in fashion shows throughout the globe, illuminating the scene. But, while these boho chic shapes have gone worldwide, there is no denying that this versatile garment is endemic to the Arab world.
Kaftans are deeply embedded in the fashion and lifestyle among Arabs. As a matter of fact, Kaftans are wardrobe mainstays for modern modest women in the region. They play a pivotal part in the Arab women’s daily ensemble and they wear it as everyday attire for staying at home, or even for going out to socialise or run a quick errand. As kaftans form a major part of their daily wear, they have also been complementing this outfit with other layering pieces like abayas.
Promoting regal aesthetics, this iconic ‘fit can be spotted relentlessly being donned as a glamorous dress at important social functions. From Eid gatherings to weddings to beachwear, every Arab woman sure has a kaftan to sport for every occasion there is to attend.
Where to get stylish kaftans?
From a modest garment to a symbol of riches and power to the epitome of cool, kaftans have indeed gone a long way to become an iconic fashion staple. With its flair and aesthetic appeal, this sought-after garment also dominates the style game. Kaftan styles are versatile outfits that may be worn for any occasion and at any season. However, if you want to feel unique and stylish, you should take the time to choose the right one for your body type, purpose, and current accessories.
We understand that finding quality kaftans online may be a difficult undertaking for anyone. We can all empathise with how you feel, but don't worry! Kayfi features a broad range of the greatest kaftan dresses for the discriminating tastes of progressive and modest ladies. Whatever colour and shape you are looking for, you are sure to find something that will represent your personality and taste. Explore our kaftan collection today and start reclaiming your style!