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Fashion guide: The return of the kaftan dresses and sartorial tips to style them


Kaftans were worn by the Ottoman sultans and later popularised by French fashion designer Paul Poiret in the 20th century where from street styles to hippie fashion, kaftans journeyed in mainstream western fashion and were soon adopted as a lavish ensemble or hostess gowns for casual at-home entertaining. While kaftans are the comfiest fashion trend to emerge out of Covid-19 quarantine, Bollywood actors like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Janhvi Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Sunny Leone and others have been raising the bar of sultry style goals by giving Bohemian fashion a sultry twist.

Made of cotton, cashmere, wool or silk, kaftans are now included as a part of summer season lines, staple for tropical holiday-wear and their trendy colour palettes have extended their style genre to even modern and luxury resortwear. Comfort mixed with glamour has been the style quotient for fashionistas ever since the Covid-19 lockdown pushed everyone to work and play from the confines of their home and that is when kaftan trend kicked up more than ever as their easy-breezy boho-chic style along with glamorous vibes ensure that the wearer slays effortlessly.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Ridhi Mehra, Founder, Designer and Creative Director of her eponymous label Ridhi Mehra, shared, “With every summer, the Kaftan returns to the balls, the halls, the streets and the shore with evolved edgy grace and pizzazz, effortlessly so, sweeping one and all. From being an unmissable holiday essential to a festive showstopper, the kaftan makes for a versatile breezy and bedazzling addition to your wardrobe.”

Sharing tips on how to style it, Ridhi Mehra revealed:

1. By the beach – Pick a kaftan made of natural fabric. Pair it up with a stylish pair of sandals and your favourite shades to keep it cool and chic.

2. A li’l casual affair – For your daytime engagements, a short kaftan with pretty heels, fine accessories and a sling together make a neat look to flaunt.

3. For a lit eve – Opt for a more fitted design and choose a piece made of silk or another luxurious fabric. For added allure, consider a kaftan made from layers of sheer fabric. Pair it with jewellery, heels and a little bejewelled belted cinch to your liking.

According to Sarika Kakrania, Designer and Founder of Pink City by Sarika, Kaftan is the new couture and a line that brings a gigantic smile on many faces. She said, “Fashion is the most expressive form of art and the amalgamation of style and comfort is an integral part of that art. The two most important factors are seamlessly blended in the Kaftan and with a canvas so exciting, sky is the limit.”

Talking about how can you style your kaftan in more ways than one, she suggested, “A woman who appreciates the magic of simplistic and power dressing can style a classic Kaftan in a solid colour with a low pony, some studs and a forever kind of watch. For the one who loves to go OTT, can get all the silver baubles out of the dresser, layer ‘em up around the neck and stack ‘em up around the wrist; and here we have a queen in a kaftan. Pro tip: If you want to accentuate that waist and can’t relate to the boxy vibe of the kaftan, bring an embellished belt to the mix and flaunt some curves.”

As per Radhika Rawat, Founder of Prints By Radhika, “The kaftan dresses are the new wedding essentials! Seeing the recent trends and the love for kaftan dresses, be it at a wedding or a baby shower they’ve been trending majorly. The easy breezy look and comfort is the highlight of the kaftan dresses. They’ve also been very trending for events like mehendi or a destination wedding sundowner with some embellishments, belts, lot of head accessories and polki jewellery looks and can be a great wedding wear.”

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