When you find an outfit that is flattering, glamorous, and comfortable, you want to hang onto it, and get it in as many colors as you can! To me, kaftans are the ultimate example of this: chic, comfortable and breezy, they’re perfect for summer lounging.

Each week this summer, I’ll be posting a picture of a new, fabulous kaftan. Roberto Cavalli kicks off our summer kaftan series with his gorgeous take on this iconic garment (one of the many he’s designed), pictured above.

There are a ton of variations on the classic kaftan, and it has a rich, international history as well as an important place in 20th century fashion – all the way up to today. Here’s a little background about the kaftan:

What Is a Kaftan?

With all the variety, you may be wondering how to differentiate a kaftan from its close cousin the tunic, and its offspring, the maxi dress. Here are a few clues to look for: typically, kaftans are made of silk or cotton. The classic kaftan has long sleeves and buttons up the front, reaches to the ankles, and is worn with sashes. If the garment you’re viewing meets these criteria, you’re probably looking at a bona fide kaftan!

Origins of the Kaftan

Way before the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, and Grace Kelly wore kaftans, sultans in the Ottoman Empire (modern Turkey) wore them in colorful patterns and gave them as gifts to important visitors. This was about 700 years ago, and through the centuries, different versions of the kaftan became popular in Morocco, Italy, China, Russia, and Southeast Asia. Pretty much every region of the world has its own version!

Hollywood Embraces the Kaftan

In the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, the kaftan caught on in a big way with Hollywood starlets and socialites around the world. By the 70’s, the kaftan was a must-have staple for fashionable women in the know, embodying glamour, comfort, and luxury all in one garment. In fact, the kaftan was the predecessor to the maxi dress, which is super trendy right now!

Show Me Your Favorite Kaftans, and Win One of Your Own!

I’d love to see your favorite kaftans! For inspiration, browse the web; or you can make your own, by following the instructions I posted recently.

Post your favorite kaftans to your profile throughout the next month, and “like” them. Next month, I’ll choose a winner, who will get a kaftan personally chosen for you by me!

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