Throughout the 1970s, the caftan stayed in the style picture. Halston’s tie-dye silk chiffon evening caftans twirled across the disco dance floor. Algerian-born Yves Saint Laurent sent caftans down the runway as an expression of his love for Morocco where he had a home. Enduring style icons like Bianca Jagger, Anjelica Huston, and Marisa Berenson wore the caftan with the kind of effortless elegance and allure that defines the era.
The caftan is still invoked in fashion as a symbol of exoticism and freedom by designers and the style vanguard. And, it is still sexy as ever. Each season's runway shows prove that the caftan is making yet another comeback. Chiffon-caped dresses float down the catwalk in chic updates of favorite silhouettes. Bohemain luxe mainstays Emilio Pucci and Missoni always provide a seasonless caftan wardrobe.
A caftan is a nomad’s secret, soft style weapon. For all of the reasons invoked above--it’s ease, elegance, and opulence--and also because it’s bold. It takes a confident woman to cover up in so many yards of fabric and still know she’s seductive beyond measure.

~Anna Yanofsky

Anna Yanofsky holds an MA in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, and Museum Practice from the Fashion Institute of Technology. In 2012 she curated the photography exhibition Incomparable Women of Style: Selections from the Rose Hartman Photography Archives, 1977-2011 . She currently works as a Research Assistant for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is also the editor of the site Exhibiting Fashion, a resource for anyone interested in learning more about fashion history.

August 2013