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"Indiana": COSTUMES RESEARCH

“INDIANA”: A CIENTIFIC GLANCE AT TRADITIONAL 18TH AND 19TH CENTURY MAJORCAN COSTUMES.

After years of investigation and reproduction of the traditional costumes of our country we had to think about how we would divulgate all this hard work. A fashion show where costume, music and dance all take part was the format we chose to present it to the public. For this two hour show a name, a title was needed: we chose “INDIANA” as this was the favourite fabric of the working class and peasantry of Mallorca of the 18th and 19th centuries because of its brightness, and the impossibility for humble people to obtain silk, reserved for noble and rich classes for status reasons, and for economical reasons once the first were overcome.

The study has diversified the investigation sources: it is not based only on found pieces, but has turned to paintings, ex-voti, engravings, paintings, nativity scenes, notarial inventories, etc. It shows differentiations between well-of f and popular classes, differences between ciutat (people from Palma, urban classes) and part forana (from villages and rural areas of the island of Mallorca), between seamen and labourers... It should also be said that the reproduction of costumes has been carried out into its full extension: clothes, belts, shoes, stockings, hats and caps, coats, accessories (leggings, scapulars, rosaries,)...etc

Although the study mostly covers the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, during its divulgation (through “Indiana”) we also show a few hints at the decades after 1860, with the objective of completing its educative intention, offering a full view of the two centuries.


One of the most important novelties of this project is the reproduction of seamen costumes of the 18th century, as they dressed in a very specific way which identified them. Far from the calçons de bufes or l’ampla (baggy trousers) and the faldons worn by rural people, these wore calçons justos (opposite term to baggy trousers, that is tight-fitting) long to the ankles. These calçons were often had red stripes, sometimes blue stripes. They are shown in this way in drawings and paintings of the time.
However, the most characteristic feature of the seamen is, without doubt the barretina, a wool cap usually red in colour, although it can be found in blue, such as in an ex-voto located at the patroness of Pollença’s hermitage, or even in white colour. All do have a usually black strip at the inferior part which tightens the cap to one’s head. Before the 19th century its shape was not exactly the same as the one which we know today (Ibiza, Catalonia) and they were referred to as mangas de marinero.


It must be specified that this investigation about DOMINANT FASHION of the two centuries in question cannot be considered to end (can any historical investigation end?) as in any moment new costumes, fabrics or data may appear that may force us to consider the investigation’s conclusions and the hypothesis which it proposes. However, right now a very important quantity of new elements, unheard of until now which offer us a vision which is radically different from which until now was considered to be the traditional Majorcan costumes.

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