And if one needed any more evidence that loose and simple are fashion’s new favourite buzzwords, the fact that the kaftan has made a comeback as a must-have wardrobe item for summer 2019 should the most obvious cue. The unisex garment, which made an appearance at the Oscars earlier this year in a stunning Valentino number worn by Maya Rudolph and was on many a Paris fashion week catwalk, is the epitome of soft style – and proving so popular as beachwear staple that Harvey Nichols has recently started carrying three new kaftan-type brands alongside the already-successful Marios Schwab’s On The Island label: Sundress, Innika Choo and lemlem.
This allure of sobriety comes hot on the heels of momentous shifts, both politically and culturally, around the world. It’s tied to the revaluation of feminine codes and body politics – how to feel confident, comfortable and powerful in what you’re wearing, and dressing for yourself, rather than the male gaze. Flowing and flouncy, modest garments set the tone for a vibe that’s both empowering and laid-back, nuanced and modern. They offer a kind of armour, so to speak, but also an antidote to the often sexually saturated images filling reality TV, social media and pop culture. As New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman wrote last year, modest dressing ‘prioritises the individual and her needs over the clichés of female role play’.
Swedish king of minimalism COS amped up its understated and architectural aesthetic for Spring Summer 2018