It was a Monday morning and, like any normal day, I was off to a kaftan launch party hosted by the Bold and the Beautiful's Katherine Kelly Lang. Monday. Kaftan. Soap Star. The holy trinity to start any week off right. After traversing a million flights of stairs to the heavenly location, I arrived suitably red-faced and disheveled for an event drenched in that special brooch-wearing, sparkly tunic brand of glamour that only the TV Shopping Network can provide.
Grabbing a glass of Monday morning champagne, I was introduced to fashion bloggers, PR people and social media "influencers", all comparing nail art and discussing how to snaffle their cigarette expenses into their tax returns (you just buy them at the BP and claim it as petrol, apparently). Maybe I should start smoking? Maybe I should get some nail art? Maybe some people just drink champagne every morning? This kaftan event could really smang a 180 on my life choices up to this point.
Suddenly, the nail art discussion peaked. Everyone went around the circle, holding out their nails and talking proudly about where we got them done, how the Shellac was holding up and how the glitter has been mixed into the topcoat.
This was not on the invitation. My own nails were roughly chopped next to a bin at social netball courts the night before. I felt them retreating into their beds, tucking themselves in and saying goodnight to their beloveds. No way those suckers would be coming out at this sparkly circle of death. I'll fashion some gloves out of those luxury napkins over there if I have to, I thought. Digging my fingers deep into a small mini-muffin, the crisis was averted.
I talked to some incredibly entrepreneurial women who had quit their jobs and started blogs and brands from scratch - slogged it out for years until they could call it anything close to a new career. I'll be honest - for this spread, it seems bloody worth it. There's enough muffins here to keep you going for about two weeks if you froze them straight away.
Whilst running the snack stats in my head, I kept eyes on Katherine Kelly Lang of The Bold and Beautiful. She was swanning around the small crowd, not one of her luxury fingers dug deep into a free baked good. "Her kaftan," I thought, "it's breathtaking." I have never even thought about a kaftan before, but right then I had never cared about anything more in my life.
It was time for Katherine Kelly Lang to give a small speech about her kaftan range, called "Katherine's Kloset". Is there a Kardashian lawsuit hanging over this? Or an even more troubling ill-advised acronym for Katherine's Kloset Kaftans ready to be unleashed? Time will only tell. Katherine was very inspired by the '60s, loving the free-flowing clothes and the silky materials. That's where the kaftan inspo came from, you see. She wants women of all ages and sizes to wear them. You can wear it with a belt. You can leave it loose. You can pin it behind you. Katherine's pinned hers today, and I'm not afraid to describe her as "red carpet ready".
As it turns out, her soap star career and her kaftan career are more closely linked than I originally thought. Over the years, she's had a few custom-kafs made for her character, Brooke Logan Forrester. In one instance, Brooke even got MARRIED in one of Katherine's Kustom Kaftans (see what I mean about the acronym?). Dress it up, dress it down. Maybe I'll get married in a kaftan and exude the same relaxed elegance of Katherine one day? I wanted to know more about this elusive and versatile garment, as fit for the altar as it is the beach. I kornered Katherine on the kouch.
"Well, a kaftan's a kaftan," she says, "but we've tried to make a few different kinds so they don't feel too boring". Katherine doesn't seem to think the kaftan has a shelf life, saying that if you get sick of it "you can always pair it with a cool belt". A cool belt! She's inspired by nature and travel, which work into the design. "If you look closely, there are loads of hidden animals in the print" she says, as I go gently cross-eyed staring at her kaftanned-front like a stoned turtle in front of a Magic Eye.
I asked her why she had added this kaftan empire to her very busy schedule as an iconic soap star. "I have always had a lot of ideas" she said "I had all these acting ideas that I wanted to do more with, but they didn't happen so I got into the business side - the kaftans". In her 28th year on the Bold and the Beautiful, she gave off a very similar vibe to the 45-year veteran of Days of Our Lives Suzanne Rogers, who I interviewed a few months ago - exuding a searing optimism to shroud a wistful longing for a richer career. A protective kaftan of positivity, if you will.
"When I first started B&B, I signed my contract for four years" she said, "and even that scared me". Katherine adjusted her kaftan, reminiscing about her 25 year-old self, hellbent on being a serious film actress. "I figured I'd be done when I was 29 and could still break into films. Then I kept re-signing, had a family, had kids and I realised it gave me a stability that no other job can"
I asked if she felt close to her character, and if there were blurred lines between them at times. "We're very separate people, but I'm very protective of her". Katherine maintained that she sheds the character of 28 years the second she steps off set, wipes off her makeup and slips on a kaftan and some flip flops. Her words, not mine. A kaftan is relaxed, just about being yourself and feeling comfortable, after all.
Brooke Forrester Logan is currently on the backburner in the B&B world however, as her son is the current focus of the drama. SPOILER ALERT: His new wife is revealed to be a transgender woman, something that he knew nothing about before the wedding. "You wouldn't know it", Katherine warned oddly serious, "she is a very beautiful girl". Hard to tell if these sensitive subject matters come out better or worse in the soap opera world but, either way, Katherine has had more time to pour lovingly into the kaftan trade.
I asked her if character has ever died and come back to life, because that seems like something that happens at least once to every marathon soap star. "No, but I have fallen off the Eiffel Tower," she said. "I was fine though, apart from a little scratch". I imagine her wide kaftan wings would have aided her descent, working as an effective emergency parachute with the cool belt as her steering wheel. It's just SUCH a versatile garment.
Just when I thought this event couldn't get any better, I was handed a dainty goody bag on my way out. "There's definitely a kaftan in there," the devil on my shoulder growled urgently into my ear. Shut up devil, we know better than to tear into a goodie bag halfway down the stairs from the venue. Plus, as we know, the kaftan fabric is so light and durable it would be impossible to tell from the weight of the bag alone. I trotted my fastest trot back to the office, tore open the tissue paper, and there it sat.
I am now a majestic kaftan wearing queen, who doesn't even need jewellery because it's PRINTED ON MY KAFTAN ALREADY. Now all I have to do is to apply the free fake tan sample and complete my full transformation into either an effortlessly glamourous woman or a bad racist Mexican character. It all hangs in the balance of me securing a "cool belt".