Tales of Queens and Caftans
Finally it’s summer! What’s the garment you absolutely need to have in your wardrobe? It’s the caftan, of course! Not only in the most jaunty and maritime version as beachrobe, but also for your most chic evenings.
The charm of this garment goes back to time immemorable and as in one of the most beautiful fairy tales of the famous “Arabian Nights“, due to its shape, its lightness and its colors, has the magic to enhance the beauty that belongs to each of us!
The caftan is a garment unique, of ancient origins dating back to the distant Persia and getting to the present day telling us a fascinating story, made of conquests, empires and sultans
First in use in Muslim countries and for a few centuries also in some Eastern European countries such as Poland and Russia, it was born as a masculine dress , long almost to the feet, open at the front, of colored fabric, often striped, with very long sleeves.
The first caftans were quite simple, then the drawings, fabrics and prints became more and more complex over time and, during the Ottoman Empire, reached their peak in magnificence.
The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, shows a vast collection of beautiful caftans worn by sultans of the past. The Arab conquerors spread the use of this garment from the East to Andalusia, up to the Maghreb.
Some legends tell that the caftan became a dress for women thanks to a very fascinating musician. This Iranian historical character really existed and dates back to the nineteenth century, besides being an excellent musical composer, he was also a refined poet and gastronomic expert.
It is told that Ziryāb (blackbird), probably so nicknamed because of his skin tone , he was also a man attentive to his personal care and hygiene, and that he loved to impress his audience even through a careful selection of his clothes.
It seems that Arab women, influenced by the style of this musician, began to imitate him and to adopt the caftan as an elegant dress suitable also for feminine shapes.
In the eighteenth century, heritage of the wealthiest women in Morocco, the kaftan (or caftan) is today the symbol of Moroccan women’s culture, the element that reveals the social status of the wearer.
Very often Moroccan women buy the fabric and then a tailor makes the caftan, to be sure that it fits them perfectly.
The shape of these garments is mostly the same, but the variants are endless: it can be of extreme simplicity and in this version used daily at home, or rather sumptuous, made of fine fabrics like brocade and silk, embroidered with gold and silver threads, adorned with jewels and used especially in ceremonies and wedding parties combined with special belts.
Often they are golden belts, very prized, but there are also simpler and less expensive belts so that women can dress according to their economic possibilities.
Wearing a caftan always means wearing the beauty and the culture of exotic countries , which give to all of us, charm and elegance, without distinction.
A caftan, offers us the opportunity to dress a perfect look, wearing it with regal simplicity at every moment of our day, and to feel as well as attractive women even queens of ourselves.
Cover – ca. 1967, Udaipur, India – Model Simone D’Aillencourt posed inside the Lake Palace in Udaipur, in a swirled flame-print poncho and jewel-cuffed pants by Emilio Pucci. — Image by � Cond� Nast Archive/Corbis