Over the years, "kaftan" has become a catchall term for any loose-fitting robe or tunic - describing a variety of garments of Middle Eastern and North African origin (such as the djellaba, abaya, and burnouse, for instance). A kaftan is a narrow cut, long robe with full sleeves, a deep open neckline (or full open shoulder line) and a buttoned front; the very voluminous garment with no defined sleeves that is sometimes called a kaftan is actually closer to an abaya.
The word kaftan is Persian, and the garment style is thought to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia. Ottoman sultans wore lavishly decorated kaftans from the 14th to the 18th century; they were also given as rewards to dignitaries and generals. The sash can be made of almost any fabric, but it is most often bound with a sash made of silk, wool, or cotton. On the Iranian plateau, in North Africa, and in West Africa, both men and women wear kaftans. The loose silhouette of the kaftan helps proper ventilation, which reduces body temperature (though the Russians have a similar garment called a kaftan made of fur).
History of Kaftan
As part of the fad for Orientalism and Turkish style interiors during the 19th century, authentic kaftans were rarely worn in Europe and North America other than by a few travelers. After appearing in high fashion only in the 1950s and early 1960s, this style of dress was adapted by French designers including Christian Dior and Balenciaga as a loose-fitting evening gown or robe worn over matching trousers.
The kaftan was described by Vogue in 1966 as an essential garment for every member of the jet-set, taken in an array of imported traditional styles and western adaptations. Vogue wrote, "Here are the most becoming fashions ever invented: the languor of the seraglio clings to them; leisure and repose emanate from them." Suddenly, the classic robes of the Near East have become all over the map of contemporary fashion—the inspiration of great dressmakers and every woman's discovery of beauty.
The kaftan worked well with the fashions of the next decade, providing a simple silhouette that could be beaded, heavily patterned, or sleekly minimal (as in Halston's designs in the 1970s). At the same time, younger people traveling the nascent "Hippie trail" from North Africa to Afghanistan began to bring more traditional silhouettes into the United States and Europe.
In America, the kaftan gained popularity from high end to mass market and cheap imports due to its association with exoticism and its ease of wearing. Between the mid-1970s and the last decade, the kaftan disappeared from most high fashion catwalks, becoming associated with resort wear instead.
The micro-mini length of Tom Ford's kaftan for Gucci Spring 1996 injected this garment with a "syndrome of the oriental" as designers rediscovered its versatility amid a renewed interest in nostalgia for the 1960s. There are numerous fashion designers who have resurrected the kaftan's Bohemian mystique, including Temperley, Matthew Williamson, and Naeem Khan and Elie Saab. In addition to its bold, graphic silhouette, the kaftan is also generally easy to wear, comfortable, and modest, which are what make it so appealing to women worldwide.
Why wear a kaftan?
Kaftan dresses are loose-fitting, free-flowing garments that reach the ankles. The original purpose of the Kaftan was to represent the royalty of the era through Islamic sensibilities. Throughout the years, these kaftan dresses have evolved a lot with so many innovative designs and variations.
Currently, there are many multicolored prints, floral patterns, and ornate designs adorning kaftan dresses. In addition to the kimono sleeves on the dress and the V-neckline with buttons, many other design features are also added to the kaftan dresses. Kaftan dresses are good for a variety of reasons.
Kaftans are designed to fit all body types and age groups because they are a one-size-fits-all product. Kaftan dresses are suitable for anyone, thin or fat. In fact, these dresses are an excellent clothing option for plus-size women.
The breezy and light material of Kaftans makes you feel relaxed. They are suitable for casual occasions. You will feel comfortable and stylish wearing these dresses regardless of whether you're shopping, hosting a kitty party, or doing anything else. Kaftan dresses can also be worn as nightgowns. Fabrics used in these loose-fitting dresses include polyester and cotton, which is soft against the skin.
There is a wide variety of designs to choose from among the kaftans. Many of the kaftans feature decorative embroidery, colorful beads, and funky designer prints. A variety of prints and designs can be found on abstract prints, such as bird prints, animal prints, and others. The appeal of the multicolored print lies in the way it combines random and imagery images to form a quaint art.
Ways you can style a kaftan
1. Tie a waist belt around your waist and cinch it. A more vibrant outfit will add dimension to your look.
2. Dress up your kaftan with lots of accessories to give it more drama.
3. Layer your kaftans with scarves and stoles.
Kaftans and tunic dresses have been featured in designer collections like Stella McCartney's, Gucci's, and Roberto Cavalli's, while celebrities like Kristina Hendricks praise their comfort and versatility. To this day, kaftans remain a go-to favorite for casual elegance and comfort during warm months.
Kaftans have a long, rich history that goes back to the sultan's palace and all the way to the runway. Want to try it yourself? Visit Hanggul for a wide selection of kaftans. By offering certified quality products, luxurious packaging, and free shipping across India, we give you the best experience.