Cultural Observations: The Moroccan Caftan

The Moroccan Caftan is arguably one of the most beautiful ladies garments in the world.  Today’s versions weave intricate and unforgettable stories of past and present although it has retained its basic characteristics.

It is a garment worn exclusively by Moroccan women; an ankle length, 2-piece dress consisting of a solid base dress and an open-front, long-sleeved robe which is usually tied at the waist with a wide belt or sash.   The caftan is worn for a variety of social occasions including dinner parties, baby showers, engagement parties and weddings.

Historically speaking, the caftan (or Kaftan) climbed to fashion prominence during the age of the Ottoman Empire.  More than just a fashion statement, it was a way to distinguish rank and social status among the Empire’s elite.  There were strict guidelines governing colour and embellishment lest anyone outshine the Sultan.

When the garment was brought to Morocco by the Moroccan Berber Almohod dynasty, it evolved to new heights of colour and intricacy of design and it found enormous favour with women.

The first recorded mention of the caftan in Moroccan history occurred in the 13th century but the garment is older by centuries, stretching back to the 9th century in Arab history.

As usual, when Moroccans adopt something culturally, they do it with exceptional flare, blending it seamlessly with existing cultural norms to create something fresh and vibrant.  The caftan has been no exception.  In fact, as a bridal gown, the Moroccan Caftan will find few peers when it comes to fabric, colour and embellishment.

The Moroccan Caftan has transcended time, foreign occupation and independence to retain its place as the foremost female garment in the Moroccan Kingdom.  Its staying power is often credited to its innate power to tap into the very essence of each individual woman’s feminine mystery.

If you haven’t already seen our video tribute to the Moroccan Caftan, be sure to log on to our YouTube channel and remember to Like & Subscribe!

By | 2018-02-01T14:40:27+00:00 January 31st, 2018|Cultural Exchange, Morocco, Tourism|