Casablanca - Inspired by Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte, fashion designer Souad Abbad claims to have embraced the air of avant-gardism and rebellion in her “This is Not a Caftan” collection, recently exhibited in Tangier.
Casablanca – Inspired by Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte, fashion designer Souad Abbad claims to have embraced the air of avant-gardism and rebellion in her “This is Not a Caftan” collection, recently exhibited in Tangier.
In a fashion exhibition that took place last week in Tangier, Souad Abbad’s “defiant” “This is not a Caftan” fashion collection lured in a great deal of attention, according to Yabiladies.
Just as the 20th century modernist cultural and artistic movement once rebelled against 19th century literary and artistic conventionalities, Abbad’s collection claims to share a similar agenda: liberating fashion from “caftan homogenization.”
But to what extent is unconventionality and fashion experimentation perceptible in Abbad’s gorgeous, yet not-so-rebellious collection? Numerous fashion designers in Morocco and worldwide have experimented with the caftan, injecting a myriad of new breaths into it that are strikingly more “rebellious” from a fashion perspective than Abbad’s collection—yet, they still call it caftan.
Abbad’s “This is not a Caftan” seems to be less of an accurate description and more of an ironic statement when one has a look at two or three pictures of the designs from her collection. Caftan’s elegance is glaringly more dominant in Abbad’s collection than her element of unconventionality; the traditional patterns are there, the conventional belt is there, the baggy, loose-fitting bottom is there, and exotic Moroccan embellishments are there too.
Abbad will have to do more than come up with a rebellious collection title, and a cluster of “diffident” alterations to a Moroccan garment that is so rooted in its cultural history to completely dissociate it from its traditional elements. These same elements are the recipe for its internationality, and the modernization of the caftan only reinforces its distinctiveness rather than altering every gene in its “cultural DNA.”
And if Abbad’s designs are truly not caftans, then why should that even be highlighted through the collection title, unless the dominance of caftan is so perceptible in her collection that a need to dismiss it as only an optical illusion was the only viable option?
Abbad’s collection is sumptuously elegant, yet still in a caftan-dominated fashion.
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