Return of The Caftan
August 4, 2017
Move over skinny jeans, the return of the Caftan is upon us.
Wikipedia defines a caftan as a variant of a robe or tunic, versions of which have been worn by several cultures around the world for thousands of years. They’re believed to have roots in ancient Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, a region that includes parts of present-day Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.
“ The structure of a caftan is really just loose fabric, attached to the shoulders with holes for the arms and the head,” says stylist and fashion historian Anna Yanofsky, who is the editor of “Exhibiting Fashion” and has also written about caftans for Nomad-Chic. “It’s the kind of garment that has been worn throughout history by lots of different cultures. The idea of taking loose fabric and covering the body is prevalent throughout the world. But the ones that we know now as fashionable caftans have their most immediate root in the 1960s, when designers were starting to look toward more exotic locations like Morocco and Turkey, places where these traditional loose, flowing garments were worn for centuries because of the warm climates. It’s such a breathable, comfortable garment in the heat.”
The appeal of the unstructured garment is that it can be transformed in so many ways. You can dress it up or dress it down. It can be worn at home, to parties or to the beach as a cover up. In the early ’60s, “Vogue” editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland discovered caftans on a trip to Morocco, and began to wear them around the office and champion them in her writing, calling them “the most becoming fashion ever invented”. By 1967, Vreeland’s “Vogue” was overflowing with caftans. She insisted that caftans were “fashionable for the beautiful people.”
Celebrities like Jackie Kennedy, Bianca Jagger, Anjelica Huston, Brigitte Bardot, and Diahann Carroll were photographed in designer caftans. Grace Kelly, who became the Princess of Monaco in 1956, appeared sporting a caftan. Outside of the appeal of exoticism and Eastern culture, the rise of the caftan had a lot to do with pushing the boundaries of what American women could wear, and when.
More recently, designers like Naeem Khan, Stella McCartney, Alberta Ferreti, Reem Acra, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli and Tory Burch have gotten on the caftan bandwagon. It moves with the air and with the body, so it goes from hiding the silhouette to emphasizing it.
In this age of action -addiction, slip into a caftan, relax and enjoy the gift of time – a most precious commodity.
“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury “, CoCo Chanel