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Peloponnessos, Greece  1830

Peloponnessos, Greece (1830)

Albanian warriors introduced the foustanella into the Peloponnese region.   Created by special tailors, this garment measured up to 40 yards around and was made of white linen panels which were covered with fat for waterproofing.   A short, richly decorated jacket worn over a full-sleeved white shirt, embroidered leggings or white stockings, a sash and fez completed the outfit.
The women wears a misofori or muslin petticoat, and a kalpaki on her head, with a fancy tassle.   A silk gown over a fine chemise with an embroidered front showed a low neckline.   Over this was worn a short, fitted velvet jacket embroidered with gold braid.

We communicate who we are and what we do through our clothing. Climate, function, wealth, custom, peer influence, religious belief, ceremony or special occasion, law and personal choice all determine how we dress.  The clothing depicted in Flora Ormsby Smith's appliqués reflects the geography, history, and social conditions of the people in the cultures represented.

     Of the twelve works, the Kampuchean (Cambodian) and Lithuanian pieces illustrate religious dress, while the other ten panels show how people dressed daily during a particular historical period.

     These fabric appliqués only begin to suggest the variety of clothing styles in these countries through the ages.  Greece has more than 35 national costumes and the Soviet Union many more.  Certain articles of clothing are repeated in various nations such aprons, sashes, pouches, and embroidery.  In several works the figures are shown dancing.  The temple dancer of Kampuchea is posed mid-step and mid-gesture; the Irish couple demonstrates a traditional jig; the man and woman from Malapolska are dancing the Krakowiak; and the Swedish panel illustrates a circle dance known as the Varsovienne, in which many couples dance in a double circle with women on the outside and men on the inside.

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