The Model and Me: Camilla kaftans

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, The Model and Me 33 Comments

It’s no secret around these parts that I love a kaftan.

This wasn’t always the case but the silk kaftan has become my go-to summer dress-up option.

There are a few reasons for this:

1. It gets mighty hot wear I live so having fancy clothes that are fitted and stick to your body is just not a nice way to spend an afternoon or evening out.

2. There’s a high comfort factor that comes with a high glam factor when those kaftans are made of silk and embellished with sequins and/or beading.

3.  If you’re invited to a beach wedding or party, a silk kaftan in any length is an ideal dress option. You’ll feel dressed up but appropriate for the venue.

4. A kaftan is a timeless piece. You can buy one now knowing you’ll be able to trot it out for many summers to come.

Most probably the most famous kaftan label in Australia is Camilla (not that Camilla only retails in Australia – the US is one of the label’s biggest markets). These kaftans are certainly not everyday purchases.

I’ve invested in two in the past – one last spring to celebrate finishing my book; the other picked up on sale online as part of a Camilla archive sale earlier this year.

This year, I’m so grateful to have been gifted the below kaftan from Zambezee Boutique on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. It as already made a very glamorous debut at Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island and they will be worn A LOT this spring-summer.

The model

Camilla Awakened Utopia Short Sheer Kaftan @ Zambezee Boutique

Camilla Awakened Utopia Short Sheer Kaftan $449 @ Zambezee Boutique

and me

Camilla Awakened Utopia Short Sheer belted kaftan | Uberkate Uberbanner necklace

Camilla Awakened Utopia Short Sheer belted kaftan* | Uberkate Uberbanner necklace*

The most obvious difference between the model and me in this garment is the length. I think this is something to take note of with a lot of garments on models if you are not a tall person. As an average-height person, this ends up being much longer and much more acceptable length for me.

I wasn’t sure about the front-tie at first but it is something that works to lightly gather the fabric to create a hint of shape without losing the kaftan feel of the garment.

I also love the sleeve length and style. For a casual look I’m never really conscious of my arms but for a dressy occasion, I’m not as confident in getting them out there. This is the best of both worlds –  a light fabric in a flowing, half-sleeve.

The prints and the colours are spectacular – especially when combined with the beading. As with all my kaftans, I wear a fitted, stretch slip underneath and in this photo I’m wearing a black Metalicus seamless slip. The slip is generally needed because the fabric is sheer but this is also a good thing because the slip is seen underneath and helps create shape to your kaftan outfit. And in cases where the kaftan is shorter than you’d otherwise prefer, then the slip can help add that little bit of length.

If I weren’t poolside and dining in – as I was the evening this photo was taken – I’d either add in a pair of black or nude sandals or heels to complete the look.

The silk is AMAZING to wear. So light and breathable on your skin. It will crush a little when travelling but not so much that I thought I needed to do something about it!

To avoid the crush factor, I’m very much a fan of the Camilla kaftans in jersey. I also wore this one while away but it’s since sold out at Zambezee. It’s still available at Camilla stores.

Other shopping options

There are many options when it come to hunting down and finding a glam kaftan for your summer wardrobe. Here are some more suggestions for you to consider.

Kaftans spring-summer 2014-15

1. Talisman Mystic silk kaftan $289 @ Sequins and Sand | 2. iAllure Lady Camouflage – Enchantment kaftan $99 (available in mini, short and maxi lengths) | 3. Kaftan Connection Silk Rose kaftan $230 | 4. Blue Bungalow kaftan $79 

More beach and poolside resort wear options

How to choose flattering swimwear

Cover up your swimsuit with sun-safe clothing

What say you to a glamorous kaftan for a summer special occasion?

The Model and Me Camilla spring-summer 2014

* These pieces were gifted to me for editorial consideration. Full disclosure policy here.

Comments 33

  1. Absolutely love the beautiful Camilla kaftans… but unfortunately well out of my affordability… and now at almost 70 years of age will just have to dream.

  2. Camilla kaftans are just exquisite! I love the utopia on you Nikki. I am lucky to own a handful of Camilla’s. My girlfriends + I borrow each others so they all get a good wear. My mum has even worn them before. I would happily let you borrow too x

  3. I haven’t gone down the kaftan path yet, but you know I was slow on the soft pant uptake and now love them so be patient with me, I’ll get there. My 70 year old mum was looking at the Camilla Kaftans at Zambezee for a cruise she is taking. As a pensioner, the price tag means a bit of budget wrangling but I think it will look amazing on her if she manages it.

  4. Nikki I love kaftans, but find as a larger lady I struggle to find them outside of the one sized fits all bracket. Do you have any retailer suggestions for those of us in the size 20/22 category?

    1. Hope Nikki doesn’t mind me jumping in here. I’ve tried a few Camilla kaftans on, and while they are a ‘one size fits all’, most will fit larger sizes. I’m a size 22 and the one I had on was SUPER spacious (i’m in the b&w on the end).

  5. That’s a big yes from me Nikki as you know I treated myself to a maxi Camilla for my 50th birthday and I want to get another in a shorter length I felt like a goddess when I wore it to my husbands Christmas party last year and I had total strangers walking up to me in Darling Harbour asking me if I was wearing a Camilla and telling me how beautiful I looked.
    I love other kaftan brands as well but the Camilla’s are beautifully made and If money were no object I would have lots.Loved this post Nikki your Camilla kaftan has beautiful colours and looks great on x

  6. My iAllure kaftan I bought on sale arrived the other day… am in LOVE with it and can’t wait to wear it on our cruise in a couple of months (am sure will be wearing it before then).. it’s the mini length, so away from the pool will definitely be wearing it with a slip or shorts. Am also awaiting the arrival in the mail of a cotton kaftan from Kaftan Bazaar, which I found online. Have you seen them? ps. Hope you’re enjoying the beautiful Southern Highlands (I live 20mins north of there and it’s certainly a glorious day today!)

  7. hello nikki, hope the long road trip is going well! … a brave woman! … I call you wonder woman! even posting whilst away now that takes organization I would only dream of! … the kaftan born in the 60’s (or earlier centuries from the deserts of Arabia!) hiding a multitude of sins … gotta love that hun! … looking good!
    they are all too highly patterned for moi … I will be making my own signiature one off! … enjoy your day … love m:)X

  8. You sure do look fab in a Kaftan Nikki. I bought one last year on the sale rack at Portmans and wore it to death on our beach holiday. They truly are an awesome invention 🙂 I’m LOVING that Blue Bungalow one you’ve featured – and a good price too! x

  9. I love caftans and have been wearing them for the past 8 years or so. The first one I bought I consider an “honorable purchase” as I went shopping for ties for my hubby. Tie Rack, the store I went to had a beautiful aqua and white caftan for $50!!!! I bought it and then bought 3 more, 1 for back up and for each of my sisters. I would wear a slip dress underneath.
    When I’d wear the caftan, women would come up to me & tell me how beautiful it was and was it Liz hurley’s caftan ( she apparently had one retailing for $800 back then). My hubby was amazed that women who I didn’t know would come up to me and I told him that the sisterhood is good like this – he said if only you had one dollar for every time this happened you would be rich! I can’t tell you how many women I sent to tie rack. Coming from sydney, I’d tell them locations in sydney. I now have about 7 caftans ( most from tie rack) but tie rack don’t sell them any more!!! However we now have Camilla.
    I wear the beautiful dark colored caftans in winter by wearing tights, scarf and winter coat. I wear caftans not only for special occasions but I wear them all the time ( even wore one to work on the day before I started holidays). Den x

  10. One day I’d like to invest in a Camilla Kaftan but for now I will admire when you wear one. I do admire the Camilla shop window at Indooroopilly shopping centre. I love this one on you.

  11. And a resounding yes from me too! I bought one for my 50th birthday and have worn it on many occasions since. I also own a more casual jersey one that works poolside. Great fabrics, high glam factor!

  12. First to weigh in on Camilla kaftans.
    As you know, I am a huge fan. I have two and considered buying the very one you are wearing too, the Awakened Utopia for summer but have resisted, it looks gorgeous on you, esp at that location!
    Definitely an investment purchase.
    I just love the boldness and colour of Camilla, the girls in the shops will teach you to knot it strategically (I have one long one) for multiple looks.
    I always feel fabulous wearing my Camilla kaftans. I have worn them with jeans, by themselves and with a pencil skirt depending on the occasion.

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