Today was the start of the trip I had been particularly looking forward to: Florence! After hearing tales of the best gelato and scenery in Italy, I was more than excited to make the journey from Milan to Florence. After breakfast, our group loaded up the bus for our three-hour journey across Italy. The bus trip was positively impacted by the beautiful, rural views and the kinder candy picked up along the way. After we arrived at Florence, we had a quick break before reconvening for our trip to the galleria. Italy hundreds of years ago and Italy today are almost two completely different worlds. So, it comes as no surprise to me that the fashion is radically different as well. As I was walking through security and gazing upon the first painting I noticed many distinct differences between fashion then and fashion today. The most noticeable difference would have to be the style of shoes worn. The main in the first painting was a renaissance man who was rocking a pair of over the knee boots. Ironically, this style of boots has become very popular with women of todays fashion scene. Speaking of women, back in the day they seemed to have a fondness of the puffed sleeve. Although this look is no longer popular in fashion today, it had quite the peak of trend in the 1990s! It is interesting how certain trends of fashion have phases of being popular and not popular. The church was not immune to changes in fashion. The way that holy people were depicted in the gallery was very different than the way holy people often dress today. One painting depicted Virgin Mary; Virgin Mary was a nun, yet she was painted with her hair showing. Her feminine side and beauty is also emphasized: this would not be the case of a nun today since they are just supposed to be married to God. It was fascinating to see the evolution of how religious people have been depicted. People’s opinions of the sun have also changed over time. In today’s fashion, a glowing tan is often seen as a sign of health. However, that was not the case back in the day. The rich people would avoid the sun at all costs in order to maintain pearly white skin. This trend was so widespread it was nearly a fashion accessory in and of itself. This was obvious in many of the paintings because the women’s faces were very, very white. The women also had different styles in terms of hair, they would cut their hair not as a fashion statement, but rather a social statement. Women with short hair were romantically not available while women with long hair were waiting for a husband. Women today do not typically base their hairstyle on their relationship status. Another interesting fashion trend, tidbit I learned today was that pregnant women were quite fashionable back in renaissance times! Many of the paintings in the galleria showed women with full stomachs. Artists would often even paint angels as pregnant to make them seem even more virtuous. One trend related to fashion that I am glad has died for good is the one involving how often people would change their clothes. A rich woman would only change her sleeves and let her bodice stay on her body all year. The bodice would stay on all year because the women would only shower two or three times a year at the most. It is mind boggling to me how even the wealthy women would never shower. I am glad that they used a lot of perfume at least!
These fashion trends run deeper than the surface, they also influence the roles of individuals in a myriad of ways. The fashion outfits that people wore back in the olden ages could tell many things about where a person was from and their families wealth and prestige. Certain fabrics and styles would only be seen on nobles just as certain fabrics would only be seen on peasants. Fashion would also be dependent on the activity that they were participating in. If a noble was sitting to pose for a painting, they would be clad in their finest armor and jewels. Overall, fashion has changed in a plethora of ways, and I predict that it will never stop being static.
Unfortunately, while Florence is beautiful it is also archaic. Their lack of wifi has prevented me from uploading some of the beautiful pictures of the museum! I will upload many pictures at the next destination to make up for it!