The caftan (or kaftan) is an elegant and flowing garment made from luscious printed cotton or silk that instantly transforms the wearer into a chic and luxurious fashionista. Although the caftan is one of the trendiest styles for summer and resort wear, the caftan actually originated in Mesopotamia around 600 B.C. It is the type of garment that has been worn throughout history by lots of different cultures around the world. The unfitted, loose-flowing garment has been irresistible to people for thousands of years but made its appearance in the high fashion world at the beginning of the 20th century. Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Czarina Alexandra, was photographed wearing a caftan, which quickly spurred a taste for the exotic look in Europe. Every fashion forward woman transitioned from wearing tight corsets to voluminous caftans.
As time passed, the caftan trend faded, however, it came back with a vengeance in the 1960’s. The love affair with the caftan quickly spread when Balenciaga’s designed the sack and trapeze dress. Diana Vreeland, the well-known editor of Vogue, had a fashion-forward approach and began featuring such designs on the cover of the oh-so-coveted magazine. In 1967, the pages of Vogue were filled with caftans designed by some of the most infamous designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Pierre Cardin and Emilio Pucci just to name a few. Caftans were designed in every color and pattern imaginable and became the haute version of casual attire. The fabulous Elizabeth Taylor abandoned the formal tailored clothing of the 1960’s and made the caftan a fashion staple. She even wore a caftan to her second wedding (when she married Richard Burton) and in various films including “X, Y and Zee”.
In the 1970’s, the caftan stayed extremely relevant in the world of fashion. Yves Saint Laurent showed his love for Morocco by sending his models down the runway in luxurious caftans. Style icons such as Bianca Jagger, Priscilla Presley and Anjelica Huston wore caftans, which made them even more popular. The effortless elegance and allure of the caftan became widely known and worn by many.
I personally love caftans because they are glamorous yet simple. It is one style that honestly looks wonderful on anyone, no matter your age or body type. The caftan is one of very few styles that is comfortable and modest yet extremely alluring. Whether you wear it to the beach with a gladiator sandal or to a black tie affair with luxurious jewelry, a caftan is always chic. It has become an indispensable item that has the power to give you effortless glamour. The beauty of a caftan is that is it completely immune from looking dated. Whether it is flared, draped or billowed, the caftan is here to stay as one of fashions most iconic trends.