In 1684 BC, nearly 3 thousand years ago, the Phoenicians sailed the coast of Italy and, discovering their new treasure, extracted metals from the island of Ischia. It is a good possibility that the shores also hosted waves of ancient Philistines.
The first recorded settlers were the Osci (also known as the Opici or Ausoni). Labeled Tyrrhenians by the Greeks, they were a branch of the Etruscans who migrated from the Aegean region in the 10th century BC and first introduced the arch and vault in Italy. These aborigines had migrated from Lydia (Greece) under a leader of the same appellation.
Consequent to the destruction of Troy, in 770 BC Greek refugees disembarked onto the shores of the island and set up the first Greek colony in the West—on Ischia! For the next 6 centuries, southern Italy belonged to Greater Greece, otherwise known as Magna Graecia.
Soon, they planted a colony across the bay on the mainland, in Cuma, just down the block from where Sofia Loren was born. They called the city Parthenope, and it was not long before the Greeks grew tired of their old city and established a “new city”—Neopolis—a name that mutated to Napoli, or Naples in English.
The clothing of Greek men was loose fitting, as opposed to the tight-fitting attire of the Barbarians. Greek men wore a tunic of linen or wool called the chiton, which was tied at the waist and—shorter than the women’s, just above the knee—usually covered one shoulder.
During cold periods, a rectangular cloak known as the himation could be draped over the body. Footwear consisted of leather sandals, if anything. The key word during this period? Functionality. Ancient Greek men were practical.
2010 Trends & Takeaways from the period:
There are many elements of ancient Greek menswear that will appear in 2010 spring/summer collections, such as white linens, elaborate designs, marked borders, and sleeveless garments.
Like the chiton, unisex styles will prevail, blending the boundaries of masculinity and femininity. As with the chiton, you can expect to sport outer belts around the waist of your jackets and coats.
Probably the greatest source of inspiration for s/s 2010, however, is the free-flowing and loose-fitting style of draping, which the Romans developed with the toga.
Photos Procession Sant’Alessandro, Ischia, Public Domain.