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DID YOU KNOW? - Variants of the caftan style can also be seen in certain African countries.
CAFTAN : The term "caftan" or Kaftan (from Ottoman Turkish qaftan) is used to refer to a full-length, loosely-fitted garment with long or short sleeves worn by both men and women, primarily in the Levant and North Africa.The caftan is similar to the more voluminous djellaba gown of the Middle East.
The origin of the caftan is usually tied to Asia Minorand Mesopotamia. Caftan-like robes are depicted in the palace reliefs of ancient Persia dating to 600 B.C.E. By the thirteenth century C.E., the style had spread into Eastern Europe and Russia, where caftan styles provided the model for a number of different basic garments well into the nineteenth century.
By the 13th century, the caftan had spread into Eastern Europe and Russia, where caftan styles provided the model for a number of different basic garments well into the nineteenth century. From Russia the caftan made it way to Turkey. The Turks also adopted caftans, and then brought the style to Hungary and Poland when they conquered those lands.
In the Ottoman Empire of the 16th century, Caftans of varying lengths were constructed from rich Ottoman satins and velvets of silk and metallic threads were worn by courtiers to indicate status, preserved in court treasuries, used as tribute, and given as "robes of honor" to visiting ambassadors, heads of state, important government officials, and master artisans working for the Imperial court.
Men's caftans often had gores added, causing the caftan to flare at the bottom, while women's garments were more closely fitted. Women were more likely to add sashes or belts. A sultan and his courtiers might layer two or three caftans with varying length sleeves for ceremonial functions. An inner short-sleeved caftan, was usually secured with an embroidered sash or jeweled belt, while the outer caftan could have slits at the shoulder through which the wearer's arms were thrust to display the sleeves (sometimes with detachable expansions) of the inner caftan to show off the contrasting fabrics of the garments. After a visit to Morocco in the early 1960s, Diana Vreeland published a series of articles in Vogue championing the caftan as fashionable for "The Beautiful People". Yves Saint Laurent and Halston were designers who included caftan-styled clothing in their lines. Since that time, caftans continue to have a market for evening and at-home wear. The caftan is now marketed globally as "fashion". With a long and elegant history- worn by emperors and kings, contemporary use of the term "caftan" can be broadened to encompass a number of similarly styled garment types. Today caftans may be worn with a sash or belt. Some caftans are open to the front or side and are tied or fastened with looped buttons running from neck to waist. Depending on use, caftans vary from hip to floor length. The choice of fabric is limitless, though silks and cottons are still the most used. Embellished, embroidered, bejeweled and other wise decked out, the caftan flatters any figure.
WIKIPEDIA SAYS-Fabrics for caftans had very specific characteristics and were named accordingly: there was velvet, aba, burumcuk, canfes, gatma, gezi, diba, hatayi, kutnu and kemha to name a few.
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