Chic and artisanal Kaftans by former British Vogue stylist
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These past days have been so hot that all I want to do is go around dressed in flowing cotton Kaftans!
“But you’re not on vacations yet”, you may say. Well, the good news is that we have Pippa Holt to help us survive the heat in style, whether at the beach or in a city, with her stunning hand-woven colourful kaftans that are so chic you can wear them anywhere!
Australian Pippa has quite an international story, having already lived in Melbourne, London, Houston and Dublin. She was born in Melbourne and grew up there, surrounded by two very stylish women; one was her grandmother, Dame Zara Holt, who was married to Australia's Prime Minister and was a fashion designer herself. Back in the 50’s, she had a fashion label called Magg and one of the dresses she created is today on display at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia. The other one is Pippa’s mother, who managed the Hermes boutique for 20 years in Melbourne and until very recently, used to go twice a year to Paris buy the collections.
So her interest in fashion came very naturally. After graduating in Fashion Design, Holt started to work as a stylist for Vogue Australia and then, for the British Vogue.
When she moved with her husband from London to Houston, she couldn’t think wearing regular clothes in the Texan heat. Then, she found a solution: kaftans made by Mexican weavers, that she would dress up with accessories and wear every day. One year later, back in Europe, her friends kept asking where she had found those beautiful kaftans.
So, after four years and two children, she decided to start in 2016, a collaboration with the Mexican weavers from a small rural community in the middle of nowhere in Mexico. Only a few still knew how to use the ancient technique of hand-weaving the cotton and naturally dying it with crushed insects or sea-snails. These old indigenous traditions were sadly getting lost with time in the Oaxacan community. But thanks to the success of the Pippa Holt Kaftans, these traditions are back in use in that remote village thus allowing the skilled artisans to have now a steady work and a better life and helping provide them with housing and education. It is a very long artisanal process, the kaftans take one month to be finished and because they are all hand-made in natural materials, each kaftan is unique.
Once they are ready, Holt will take the “raw kaftan” and apply high-end finishings to make them more urban, modern and chic. This last step is made at home, in Dublin, Ireland, where she lives with her Irish husband and children. Actually, that’s where her base is but she still finds time to continue with her work in London, as a fashion consultant and Contributing Editor at the British Vogue.
Pippa says she calls the kaftans her “holiday heroes” because they pack small and work day and night, on a beach, in a city, with or without a belt. They are really versatile and look fabulous in any situation, depending on the accessories you complete the look with, for example, when in Dublin, the Australian designer wears them layered with a white shirt underneath. Easy to wear, chic and incredibly comfortable, what more could you wish?
Photos via Instagram