How the Kaftan Went Global
Several factors allowed the Moroccan Kaftan (also Caftan) to cross borders and influence fashion internationally. It really started in the 1950s, with the introduction of European haute couture in Morocco and the improvement of Moroccan women’s conditions. Many Moroccan women designers felt empowered to celebrate the Kaftan heritage and brought a few simple changes to make it more convenient for every woman. They reduced the number of layers and the usual width of the traditional kaftan and used flowy and airy fabrics for better wearability.
Among the pioneer designers of the time, we can mention Zina Guessous (1925-1998), Naima Bennis (1940-2008), Tamy Tazi (1930-), and Zhor Sebti (born in 1928).
Their creations were sought after and attracted international personalities such as Yves Saint Laurent, Tabitha Getty, Annita Pallenberg, Catherine Deneuve, Queen Beatrix of Holland, and Oum Kalthoum. American Vogue editor-in-chief, Diana Vreeland, devoted many articles to the Moroccan Kaftan and Moroccan fashion. Esquires magazine also celebrated the comfort of the Caftan in an article published in June 1972.
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