Yet I still haven't had the chance of analysing the look of a particular bandit and compare it with a proper fashion collection.
Luckily, Antonio Marras’ Autumn/Winter 2010-11 collection has just given me the chance to do so.
The starting point for this collection was indeed Sardinian bandit queen Paska Devaddis who lived in the early 1900s in Orgosolo and died from phthisis in November 1913 in the mountains of the Gennargentu, surrounded only by her fellow bandits.
Marras already paid homage to Paska in an exhibition that took place in 1997 and that featured 50 sketches by the Sardinian designer.
Fans may remember how in that occasion the designer also showcased 19 sketches dedicated to 19 different types of women, among them also silent movie diva Rina De Liguoro, Su Componidori, a traditional and enigmatic figure of the Sardinian Carnival, Our Lady of Valverde and Paska Devaddis.
Sardinian history boasts other figures of bandit women, such as Donna Lucia Delitala and Maria Antonia also known as Nuoro’s Sa Reina, but Paska’s tale is really unique since it’s surrounded by local mythology.
Some say Paska, the "reina" (queen) and "bandida" (bandit), was incredibly beautiful, others that she was a plain girl but she could ride a horse and shoot like a man.
What's certain though is that young Paska was soon swallowed by the bitter feuds that started between two Orgosolo-based families in 1905 and that, in a few years' time, turned into a sort of violent and revengeful civil war.
The fights went on until 1916 and culminated in a trial in 1917. Paska joined the battle in 1912 and eventually started behaving like all the other bandits, going to her village only to carry out brief and bloody revengeful expeditions.
After she died, the bandits took her body back to her house in the middle of the night and left the corpse there.
Paska was buried in her wedding gown, a dress that had been prepared for her long before she became a bandit, but she had never got the chance to wear it since her betrothed, a man named Michele Manca, was in jail accused of murder.
There are no images left of Paska, though some say the Carabinieri took a few pictures of her corpse.
The legend says she was a fierce virgin Amazon, but her health wasn’t good, so “the bandits’ sister and sentinel”, as Sardinian anthropologist Michelangelo Pira dubbed her, was probably a rather weak yet brave young woman.
Marras infused in his collection Paska’s legend, creating a sort of feminine masculinity.
Androgyny was explored in designs in which traditional men’s wear fabrics such as thick tweed (reminiscent of the rough "orbace", a Sardinian coarse wollen fabric) was mixed with more feminine floral prints or with squares of fur, or by matching typical garments taken from a man’s or a bandit’s wardrobe - such as long vests, ample waistcoats and military coats - with silk and lace dresses.
Marras reminded us that, though Paska dressed as a man she was actually a young woman even in the footwear that included stiletto boots with incorporated spats and crepe-sole snakeskin shoes.
The crystals appliquéd on black lace dresses added a note of sensuality and eroticism that probably Paska’s real life story lacked, but that helped creating the perfect wardrobe for a modern androgynous bandit, a romantic, chic and fearlessly strong woman.Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Add to Technorati Favorites Lijit Search