Spotting: Kaftans

As a teenager in the 80s, you were pretty much expected to be savagely cruel about all aspects of 70s fashion (oh, how little did we know - and don't even get me started on 90s fashion, I'm looking at your Mr Happy Pants*) - moustaches, flares, disco wear, massive collars, powder blue safari suits and most of all, the Kaftan.

For those who came in late, the Kaftan is a big, shapeless, full body, one size fits all tentlike structure which was particularly popular in the Ottoman empire and was introduced to "the West" in the late 60s by globetrotting hippies.

Fast forward to now - ok, last night - sitting around the kitchen table idly flicking through the weekend papers and chatting to my housies when I suddenly exclaimed WTF!
(in real-speak though) and could only hold up the Sun-Herald tv guide in amazement. (Click on the image for a full-sized version)

Yes, someone out there has been sitting in front of the sewing machine, patiently waiting for the day the Kaftan might return and recently they decided that time is now. Alternately, they have just woken from a 30 year coma and picked up life right where they left it.

The text in the ad leans towards the latter for me -

Pretty enough for Candlelight dinners

Made from lush pure 100% polyester

flatters every figure

These shiny caftans are so elegant you can wear them while entertaining or even for a candlelight dinner for two

(Someone hasn't been getting enough candlelit dinners methinks)

As a multimedia guy, I have a bit of an eye for proportion in images - noticing whether things look right. My housemates have come to know (and mercifully tolerate) my need to change the picture scale on the telly depending on whether something is 4:3 (standard tv ratio) or 16:9 (movie/widescreen ratio). (It just looks wrong Goddamn it :)

Looking at the images of the woman modelling the kaftan, the first thing that struck me was the fact that she looks stretched vertically. Not noticably but enough to look wrong. This says Photoshop to me.

Now there are two equally reasonable explanations for this - they needed to squish the image in slightly to make it fit the layout OR they were trying to emphasise the whole "Flatters every figure" aspect of the kaftan.

For the sake of curiosity, I stretched the image a little to see if it looked more natural - click on the image for a full sized version.

The difference isn't that significant but to my eyes, the image on the right seems more real.

Ok, well all this TodayTonight style minnow-busting is quite tiring, if only I had a comfortable yet stylish piece of clothing to lounge around in, perhaps even sleep in.

Update - Just been chatting to my friend Marg whose hubby Choo has just returned from Malaysia with - you guessed it - a male Kaftan. (But I bet it's not leopard print)

* For the record, Jeff (The Big) Lebowski is the only person who can get away with Happy Pants