September 19, 2009

Bourbon Anyone?

The last overlords of Naples and its sea-girt holms were the Bourbon kings whose family name and birth site can be traced to French feudal lords who ascended to baronage in the 9th century.

They ruled Spain and the southern half of Italy under the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from 1734-1860, wherein the economy languished in spite of significant contributions and reform.

Meanwhile, the French Revolution of 1789 had pulled the floor out from the century-old traditions that had regulated European life. French ideas won proselytes in our area, nesting themselves in a secret society whose members were ultimately executed.

Under the protection of the French in 1799, an emancipated Parthenopean Republic was proclaimed in Naples and washed apace to the shores of the isles. Within five months, the Republic was quelled and the patriots were punished by hanging and exile.

So with a short-lived French aperitif, the islanders had to settle for Bourbon!

Menswear during this period was dominated by French styles, regardless of ruler, and featured the prototype of what we would consider the 3-piece suit. Unbuttoned, high-collared red coats were sported with short vests, velvet knickers, and silk stockings.

Instead of large collars, men donned an assortment of cravats around the neck. Combinations of colors were fearless! Men wore wigs with curls that were often tied back with a ribbon. Wide brimmed hats were turned up on three sides in this era.

2010 Trends & Takeaways from the period:
Just as this period marks the end of an era for adventure and exploration, 2010 spring/summer collections are geared up for contemporary explorers, globe trotters, and journeymen of the millennium, all of whom require tasteful but handy bags and backpacks as accessories. Expect nautical themes and a chic twist on the safari look, as well.

Photo top left Ferdinando II of Bourbon, King of Two Sicilies & Maria Teresa, Procession Sant’Alessandro, Ischia, Public Domain.
Photo middle right, typical 18th-century clothing on Ischia, Bourbon Period, Procession Sant’Alessandro, Ischia, Public Domain.

Slideshow Public Domain.

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