Kaftans are late-tribal-phase garments. In all geographic locations people first folded and fastened cloth to make togas, saris, kilts etc. Then they cut and sewed body-and-sleeve garments such as kimonos, kaftans and tunics. Stitches were a cultural advance, stitching beads an early artform.
When the life of the tribe was embedded in the storm, the rising sap, the falling fruit and the nearness of the predator, its people acted out of Nature-Wisdom. They painted patterns of nature and patterns of auras on their tunics with vegetable dyes, beads and embroidery.
Why is the Kaftan theme appearing in every major fashion collection and interior design product line? Is it because the Kaftan is a fitting symbol for the new impulse lighting up the design world like sheet lightening across the intuitive sky?
Design only seems superficial because exciting new concepts descend through a series of cost-cutting variations until there’s little content left when they reach the general view. While most people have no desire to comprehend its meaning, they still spread the impulse by using watered down copies and that is still an important part of the process. But new design directions first emerge charged with specific potencies that slowly unfold through the designer and the product. Their influence spreads over a decade while a new point of view is gaining general acceptance.
Culture shifts when design takes a sharp turn.
What is the message of the Kaftan? Maybe as Man poisons the last pure streams and lacerates the skyscape with stripes of chemical cloud-spray, we’re growing nostalgic for Nature. Maybe we are being challenged to get to the core of each issue at hand. And when we get it right and solve the problem no matter how small, we experience a surge of energy, like a primal fuel for progress.
The solution to our current social/cultural condition might not be clear yet. (A lot to ask ) But did you ever get a clear look at that part of yourself you call “I”, you saw a corner of it and after the initial horrible embarrassment subsided, decided to live it out loud anyway?
I feel a dynamic shift away from business attire to kaftans, tunics and leggings. It is running parallel to a yearning for relaxed comfort in my living spaces. Not shabby, not putting stuff together with no meaning, but intentional, linked, meaningful contact between purposeful items and bold decorations. Clean definition. Black and white and russet. “Neutral but not undecided” says Hale Bob.
When were kaftans important before? In the late sixties and early seventies as Donald Sutherland demonstrates. “That’s not new,” you say, “you have been writing about the influence of sixties cinematography for months.” But culture progresses organically even in the forward lurches. It’s ongoing.
The informed reader could say “Ikat patterns have been featured for several seasons in designer textiles”. But they’re gaining strength and spawning concepts. Expect minimalist versions of Moroccan daybeds piled with exotic pillows. Tribal mood occasional chairs. Beading on accessories.
Beware of people using the sixties/seventies wave to sell products that are on the beaten-to-death and don’t-know-why end of the scale. Kaftans are the garments of those in the know. Divas at home wear kaftans! – Lois Macaulay 416 921 1043 firstname.lastname@example.org instagram.com/loismacaulay