The Moroccan women's kaftan is celebrated all over the world and throughout history for its colorful appearance and exquisite cuts, is more than just an article of clothing. It is a source of pride for the women of Morocco and to many, it is their identity.
The kaftan, although similar in appearance, is not the same as the DjeAlaba. While the former is specifically for women, whereas, the Djellaba is gender-neutral. The kaftan can be described as a hoodless Djellaba, although that definition won’t do it much justice, especially when the kaftan is so much more elaborate and sophisticated than the Djellaba.
Furthermore, the kaftan is not event-specific and women can be seen slaying in it everywhere from wedding venues to malls. And it is an instant favorite for women who seek modest dresses but don’t want to compromise on elegance.
The wide variety of styles and fabrics the kaftan comes in is an added perk for those who chose to don the much-coveted article of clothing. The kaftan isn’t special just because of how easy it is to style. The traditional outfit is as culturally significant as it is glamorous.
But when did this middle eastern garment make its way to the North African country?
The Journey to Morocco
Man kaftans were first spotted in the 16th century during the reign of the Abbassides. When locals from Andalusia fled the tyranny of the Spaniards and landed in Morocco, they took with them their culture, their clothing, and their values. The kaftan thus represents the cultural diversity and rich heritage that Morocco boasts.
Once the kaftan made its way to Morocco, it encapsulated the vibrant culture and added developed a whole new accent of its own in the new home. The impact of the region on the age-old attire was clear and so delightful that it garnered attention from across the globe.
Many notable figures throughout fashion history have stunned in the kaftan and received much acclaim for it and the kaftan is now known and recognized worldwide for its sumptuosity and charm.
Over time the traditional kaftan has seen modernization but has retained its true essence and character. The balance it has managed to maintain between its originality and modernity is further proof that the Moroccan kaftan is universal attire while being an important component of the Moroccan culture too.
The Journey to the Heart
The journey of the kaftan starts in the thread weavers hand as they twirl and entwine bit after bit after a bit of raw silk or cotton threads into the fabric with care and dedication. The fabric then travels from the hands where it is dyed and woven and goes on to the tailors where it will be cut and styled in a way unique to it and in a manner that reflects the gentleness of the souls that tailor it.
Traditionally, the Moroccan kaftan is handmade and is embellished with gems and stones that are reflective of the lofty taste of the people for whom they were crafted.
By the time the kaftan ends up on the body it was designed for, it has already been through an amazing journey and is now ready to play up the best features of the wearer who chose it. The kaftan and the wearer now share a special bond and reflect each other’s character. The kaftan moulds itself so as to speak the reality of the wearer who wears it.
The Moroccan kaftan is so deeply embedded into the culture of Morocco that its presence can be felt in the air and on every street. The market place is lined with kaftans of all colors and styles and vendors selling homemade buttons and laces and a sight that screams Morocco.