Diana Vreeland famously declared that kaftans are “fashionable for the beautiful people”. Kaftans have always been, and will always be ‘in’ fashion. Ladies of the orient, the Far East, the Middle East, and Africa practically live in them.
I remember watching a documentary about Elizabeth Taylor’s Christie’s auction last year; I was astonished to find out that Elizabeth loved kaftans. She even got married in one! However not any kaftan is an ‘Elizabeth’ kaftan, only the crème de la crème were her favorites like Pucci, Thea Porter, and Emanual. Her collection of Thea Porter, a rainbow of all colors and styles, was also sold at Christie’s amongst her luxurious jewelry collection.
Refinery29 photog Angela Pham does this Kaftan just right at Coachella (courtesy of R29)
We might be grateful to Hollywood classics to have pushed the kaftan trend to new levels during the 60s and 70s; however, it was only favored by older ladies, until a wave of new starlets and fashionistas paved the way for the re-emerge of the famous kaftan. I will forever be grateful for Kate Moss, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Sienna Miller, and Nicole Richie for making it cool to wear a kaftan to a gala or a premiere. These ladies do it with style… It is no surprise that all brands have designed kaftans once or twice during their history, Dior, YSL, Oscar de La Renta, Ossie Clark are my ultimate favorites…
Try searching for your perfect vintage couture kaftan at 1st Dibs or ebay. For some current designers, I recommend Razan Alazzouni, a Saudi Designer with a huge fan base in Hollywood, and Muzungu sisters, a new ethnic-inspired brand by Dana Alikhani and Tatiana Santo Domingo, wife of Andrea Casiraghi. The casual feel of the kaftan makes it easy to incorporate it with everyday attire. You can wear your beloved kaftan with your clutch of choice, have your hair in a ponytail or bun, and wear the biggest earring you own, et voila, a new look is born… Take it from Rachel Zoe and “wear it on the beach with gladiator flat sandals or to a black tie affair with tons of jewels and a topknot!” Wear it, flaunt it, and embrace it.