Middle East Inspired: House of Babani

I recently discovered the House of Babani label, and I am amazed!

Founded by Vitaldi Babani, a Middle-East born Frenchman, in 1895, the House of Babani was originally an imports store specializing in items from the East.  (I imagine a turn-of-the-century Pier 1 sort of idea.)  However, as time went on the brand began to represent a line of clothing as well.  Marvelous, luxurious, glorious clothing inspired by the Eastern imports that was once the store's bread and butter.

Babani worked with Fortuny and also oftentimes reproduced Middle Eastern garments in more luxurious materials to present to the Western market.  For example, Barbani would turn a humble wool garment into a luxurious piece by switching out the wool for velvet in the reproduction.  Many of his pieces are quite obviously Middle East inspired, and I LOVE them!

Can you see how he may have been influenced by traditional Middle Eastern and North African garments?  Which Babani gown is your favorite?  Which Middle Eastern/North African garment is most striking to you?  Did you know traditional Middle Eastern clothing looked like this?

There's not a whole lot of information out there on the House of Babani, but here are a couple links if you'd like to delve deeper!

traditional bedouin abaya with embroidery | House of Babani gown, c. 1920
Antique Turkish black garment, c. 1840 | Babani gown, c. 1920s

Babani jacket over Fortuny Delphos dress | Traditional man's cloak made of white goat's hair from the Al Baha tribe in Saudi Arabia

Traditional Kuwaiti wedding ensemble |  House of Babani evening coat, c. 1925
Babani dress, c. 1926 | Antique red velvet Ottoman outfit

And Babani's not going out yet!  Check out the details of the Babani caftan on the right and compare with the modern abaya on the left (which even has the same shape as Babani's caftan, too!)


  1. I have to admit I know practically nothing about traditional Middle Eastern clothing, so I love the way you've shown the museum pieces and the designs for comparison. My favourite is probably the green evening coat, and the black and gold (both the traditional and the gown).

    1. Hey, I really didn't know anything about Middle Eastern clothing either until I moved there! I'm glad the comparison has helped!
      And yes, the green is just gorgeous, and black and gold is always one of my favorite color combos without fail!

  2. Wow! I just discovered your blog! I'll have to visit more! I grew up traveling in Muslim countries (and many others) starting at age 8 (I am now 21). I love making my own traditional clothing, and this particular post is getting bookmarked for future reference, if that's ok with you!

    1. Well of course that's okay! And also, if you click the "International Vintage" label over on the bottom of the right sidebar, all of my Middle East themed posts will come up!

      I hope to hear from you again soon!