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How the Kaftan Became a Summer Bestseller

Versatile, easy and steeped in history, the kaftan is proving a hit with customers on luxury fashion e-commerce sites.


Haya Abdulsalam for Vogue Arabia, January 2020. Photo: Gianluca Fontana

They spell it with a C in some parts of the Middle East and usually with a K in the West. But luxury fashion e-commerce businesses aren’t too worried about the spelling. The kaftan, or caftan, is turning into one of the most reliable bestsellers on their websites.

At Cannes Film Festival this year, a highlight look was the billowing white low-necked kaftan dress, from Gucci’s Resort 2025 collection worn by American actress Elle Fanning. Meanwhile, Net-a-Porter reports an increase in searches for beach kaftans of 54 per cent over the last three months — and an overall significant increase of 400 per cent for kaftan dresses in the last month.

Elle Fanning at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Photo: Getty

Marrakech has hosted its own Caftan Week since 1996, organised by Moroccan magazine Femmes Du Maroc. The latest week, held 9-12 May, was attended by Arabic music star Wael Jassar and renowned Moroccan singer Bassma Boussel. The Moroccan kaftan is special — “distinguished by its intricate embroidery, luxurious fabrics, and detailed craftsmanship”, according to Ichrak Moubsit, director of publications at Femmes Du Maroc. “Traditionally worn during special occasions such as weddings and religious celebrations, it symbolises Moroccan elegance and sophistication.”

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