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Caftans: From Classical to Camp: A Fashion History

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Caftans are never out of style, and this gorgeous book by vintage guru Cameron Silver shows why: Arguably the world’s oldest known garment, the caftan appears in every culture, from the chitons depicted on urns and murals in ancient Greece and Rome to diaphanous versions wafting down today’s red carpets, from the flowing garb immortalized in pre-Raphaelite paintings to the striped stunner worn by Isaac Hayes on the cover of his Black Moses album.

Caftans range from loungewear to haute couture, and Silver guides us expertly through all manifestations, from ancient times on: “Endless Summer” explores resort caftans; “Caftan Couture” displays haute couture caftans by the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and Tory Burch; “On and Off the Silver Screen” addresses caftans worn in films and on the red carpet, as well as at home—think Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Cher, Angelina Jolie, and Rihanna; “Mantans” reveals men’s growing penchant for wearing caftans; and “Caftan Capital” focuses on the iconic caftans of Morocco.

Gloriously illustrated with photographs, drawings, and paintings, Caftans is alternately glamorous, campy, and comfy, just like the versatile garment it celebrates.