The origins of the Moroccan kaftan

The origins of the Moroccan kaftan

The origins of the kaftan

The kaftan or more commonly "kaftane" in Moroccan made its first appearances in ancient Persia (Iran currently). Different versions exist concerning the origin of their inspirations, derived from the costumes of the Ottoman Empire for some or a reinterpretation of Roman draperies for others.

It was introduced in the Muslim East in the 8th century and in Morocco at the end of the 11th century thanks to the legacy of Andalusians settled in the Maghreb. At first, worn by wealthy men and nobles, the kaftan was a symbol of wealth.

It is that in the seventeenth century the kaftan becomes a woman's outfit

The kaftan has evolved several times over the centuries, finally becoming a ceremonial dress that symbolizes the elegance of the Moroccan woman. Carved out of beautiful materials, the major regions of Morocco have been able to appropriate it in different ways, resulting in three main declensions of the female caftan: The kaftan tetouan -chamali-, the kaftan of Fes -fassi- and the kaftan of Rabat -rbati-.

The kaftan short and wide

The tetouan caftan

Of Andalusian tradition, close to the mountains, women make the caftan in a thick and warm velvet. It has the distinction of having buttonholes (aakads) on both sides, which allows to highlight the vest above.

women's kaftan - Tetouan, early 20th century - pink rose cotton satin embroidered with white-braid, gold woven braid and silver embroidery.

The kaftan long and straight

The kaftan of Fes

Old and aristocratic city, Fassi kaftans are cut in brocade, natural silk or stitched or even velvet. Embroideries in gold or silver thread come adorned with the neckline, sleeves and shoulders.

Wedding kaftan - weaving Ben Chérif - gold and silver lamé silk - gold trimmings

The kaftan of Rabat

It appears at the beginning of the 20th century. It is characterized by narrow sleeves and a cut close to the body, it was quickly adopted by the city-dwellers because it is carried easily under the jellaba.

Women's wedding kaftan - Rabat or Salé - late nineteenth century, purple velvet, gold woven braid and embroidery made of fine gold twined twill cords and a pattern line called "fly"

Today the kaftan is between tradition and innovation. Morocco, by its lifestyle, has preserved its identity while opening to the world, the evolution of the kaftan has been significant. The Moroccan woman, more and more demanding, has also participated in its modernization. Currently, this masterpiece is shaped without borders between the capitals of the Moroccan kaftan.