I just read a post on a popular fashion website that said if they held a contest for “warm weather’s official pattern” it would be stripes.
That got me thinking about the striped patterns I’ve seen all over Italy and how I’m drawn to them. Summertime stripes are especially appealing. Colorful and crisp shirting, swimwear and sun dresses, beach umbrellas and sun lounges are all dressed in stripes along the Italian seaside.
From the shirts of Venetian gondoliers whose stripes must be a certain width to the striped marble of Siena’s Duomo, the stripe plays an important visual symbol in Italy beginning with the Italian Tricolore.
As a pattern stripes have a long history in fashion, art and architecture with an uncomplimentary early beginning. In Northern Italy in the early 1300’s decrees and laws existed that prohibited clerics from wearing two colored clothes. Only outcasts and prostitutes wore striped clothing.
Fortunately things began to change and stripes started taking on a bold, chic status. European aristocrats and designers realized the ability of the stripe to attract the eye and began using it as a fashion statement. In Italy Gucci’s signature “blue-red-blue” and “green-red-green” stripe and Missoni’s graphic zigzag colored stripes immediately come to mind. Striped Italian beach and bistro umbrellas and the distinct striped architectural façades of Italy’s medieval churches (Siena, Oriveto, Prato). The stripes of Italy’s Club Soccer Jerseys and the ethereal beauty of Tessitura Pardi ambra stripe linen scarfs. These and many more make a statement of stripes in Italy.