The History of the Kaftan

Green and Purple Everyday KaftanA popular Islamic clothing style for women, the kaftan has been worn by cultures throughout the world for thousands of years. Popular during the time of the Ottoman Empire, detailed and elaborately designed garments were given to ambassadors and other important guests at the Topkapi Palace. Variations of the kaftan were inherited by cultures throughout the Middle East and Asia and were worn by individuals in Russia, South East Asia and Northern Africa.

Traditionally made of cotton and silk, this long, robe-like garment was developed in ancient Mesopotamia and is often designed in colorful patterns and with detailed embroidery. A comfortable and classic Middle Eastern garment, this style of dress first began to spread to the western world in the late 1800s when Czarina Alexandra was crowned wearing a kaftan similar to the traditional Russian coronation dresses.

White Khaleeji KaftanThe style gained popularity once again in the 1960s when Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland began wearing kaftans, calling them “the most becoming fashion ever invented.” Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly are among some of the most famous celebrities to have embraced this style of dress. In recent years, stars like Christina Hendricks, Jessica Simpson and Beyoncé have begun to bring the kaftan back to the fashion scene.

Whether you are looking for an everyday kaftan or an embellished option for a special occasion, Amanis has a beautiful selection of printed and embroidered chiffon pieces. Visit us online or at our East London sister shop, Fareeha’s Boutique.