Fashion & Beauty

Fashion Friday: Kaftan Style

The weather report this week warns us to prepare for consecutive upcoming days of 90-degree heat. To which we respond: that’s kaftan weather. Elegant, flowing, luxurious, comfortable, chic, bohemian, glamorous, breezy, and freeing — these are just some of the words to describe the aesthetic and allure of this long printed cotton or silk dress.

A Brief History/Love Affair with the Kaftan

ca972cda7806b3aa0964138ebf139ef6Elizabeth Taylor dressed in one of they many kaftans she often wore.

The kaftan originated with the Ottoman sultans in the Ottoman Empire. They were introduced to the West in Russia in the 1890s when Alix of Hesse wore the traditional Russian kaftan during her coronation. The garment slowly gained popularity for its exoticism and as a form of looser-fitting clothing. In the 1950s, fashion designers such as Christian Dior and Balenciaga adopted the kaftan as a loose evening gown or robe in their collections. American hippie fashions of the late 1960s and the 1970s often drew inspiration from kaftans. Street styles were appropriated by fashion designers, who marketed lavish, Moroccan-style kaftans as hostess gowns for casual at-home entertaining. Diana Vreeland, in the 1960s, encouraged Vogue magazine readers to don the the kaftan. And, in the 1970s, Elizabeth Taylor often wore kaftans designed by Thea Porter. In 1975 during her second wedding to Richard Burton, she wore a caftan designed by Gina Fratini. When her clothes went up for auction at Christie’s, the prices her caftans fetched made headlines.

The Modern Kaftan

Designers now treat the kaftan with the same effortless glamour, styled in rich shades and prints, various necklines and collars, cropped sleeves, and a chic modern approach for day to evening dress-up. Pair them with sandals during the day and heels for after dark. Here are some of our favorite summer kaftan styles.


239509Printed V-Neck Caftan by HALSTON HERITAGE



TB_21161429_120Sierra Caftan by Tory Burch


hellessy-burgundy-abram-silk-caftan-purple-product-0-124056025-normalAbram Silk Caftan by Hellessy



image3xxlPalm Print Caftan by Traffic People

BGI0R3T_mu Floral-Print Charmeuse Caftan, Fuchsia Print by Oscar de la Renta


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  • Andrea August 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Always loved La Liz in her caftans. They are perfect for these hot days/nights of summer!