September 17, 2009

From Feudalism to Family Feuds

From the Swabian rule of the southern Italian peninsula, the baton soon passed on to the pro-papal party, the Angevins (from the House of Anjou, a northeastern French province that gave kings to Hungary, Poland, and Naples), who, with whip and spur, dispatched four hundred soldiers to ravage Ischia with fire and sword.

During their reign, Naples was second only to Paris. From the raising of this dynasty’s flag in 1266 until the unification of the Italian peninsula in 1860, Naples was hailed as the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily, an empire that encompassed the entire South of the boot.

In 1442, however, Naples kissed Anjou “adieu” and bid “hola” to Aragon, a Christianized kingdom in northeast Spain whose reign endured from the 11th to 15th centuries and, having united with Castile, formed Spain in 1479.

When he House of Aragon harnessed the southern empire, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was inaugurated, embracing the sourthern half of the Italian peninsula.

This period, the dawn of the Renaissance, marks a time of new dress, which was characterized by stylish excessiveness, complexity, and flamboyance.

Basically, the natural silhouette was distorted through padded sleeves and doublets, ruffles, and stuffed stockings.

The basic elements consisted of the wide, low-neck shirt and tight-fitting doublet, which had with puffy sleeves. Belted at the waist, the doublet gave the appearance of a pleated skirt.

A technique called “slashing” started on the Italian peninsula and spread throughout Europe, whereby slits were “slashed” into the doublet so that the shirt could be pulled through.

Colors were dark but bold, often found in combinations like black and gold, black and red, and so on. Menswear abounded in new accessories.

Feathers were placed anywhere from wide-brimmed hats down to the legs. A bowl cut was a popular hairdo and, at times, a frizz or a lovelock down over the shoulder.

2010 Trends & Takeaways from the period:
Be prepared for some outlandish but playful patterns and prints in the spring/summer 2010 collections! You can expect lots of collage patchwork and kaleidoscope patterning with nature and floral themes, all the while mixing it up in all sorts of ways. Larger sleeves to the elbow and extremely low-cut neck lines will accompany bold surfacing and sequins.

Photo top left Ascanio Colonna & Giovanna of Aragon, Procession Sant’Alessandro, Ischia, Public Domain.
Photo middle right Fabrizio Colonna & Agnesina of Moltefeltro, Procession Sant’Alessandro, Ischia, Public Domain.
Photo middle left Holy Roman Emperor Carlo V & Isabella of Portugal, Procession Sant’Alessandro, Ischia, Public Domain.
Photo bottom right Prospero Colonna & Isabella of Aragon, Procession Sant’Alessandro, Ischia, Public Domain.

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