A brief lesson on the history of the Kaftan...err, Caftan...we'll expl

A brief lesson on the history of the Kaftan...err, Caftan...we'll explain.

 Kaftan, kurta, yukata, kanga, or chiton, virtually every culture throughtout history has had their version of an easy, flowing garment for everyone, every day.    

We love the timeless elegance of this eternal garment so we thought we'd do some research.  

"Kaftan" or "Caftan", either is correct as the spellings are interchangable.  This, of course,  is a major point of confusion when talking about caftans -- other than the true origin of the garment itself.

The 'K' version can be traced back thousands of years Turkish Mesopotamia and the  word "kap ton" which translates to "covering garment."

The popularity of this garment spread throughout the Ottoman Empire where it soon became a symbol of status and wealth.  Made in luxurious fabrics with ornate embellisments, the caftan became a way to communicate the station of the wearer.  When Moroccan judges adpoted the caftan as the garment of choice,  it soon became a symbol of power as well.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Queen Victoria's granddaughter married Czar Nicolas II becoming Czarina Alexandra and was photographed in a traditional kaftan.  The opulence of the garment sparked a taste for the exotic dress which became all the rage in Victorian England. 

There was a second, and slightly more recent revival of the caftan in the mid-1950's when Balenciaga's oversized trapeze and sack dresses gained popularity.


And then, the 1960's happened.  When Yves Saint Laurent and his influencial obsession with Marrekesh met Diana Vreeland's love of travel and exotic dress, which featured promenantly in the pages of Vogue, the caftan had officially arrived.  Then, fashion and music became inextricabley linked when the free loving, rock 'n roll movement adopted the must-have caftan and everyone from Bianca Jagger to Anjelica Huston embraced the effortlessly chic look for day and night. 

From modest 'covering garment', to a symbol of weath and power, to the picture of absolute cool, thanks, Mesopotamian ancestors.  You didn't know how right you were!  

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