Open the Wardrobe of Split Countesses
If you are staying in Split this summer, you must visit the “exhibition of exhibitions”, the one from ‘Rococo to secession – dressing and fashion accessories’, with objects from the ‘house’ holdings of Split City Museum. This magnificent display is worth seeing even if it were at a greater distance than that of being just at reach when going to the city center for a cup of coffee and thus visit it in Papalic Palace not far from the Peristyle.
The seductive ambience of the former nobility palace with exhibits most of which have been taken out of deposits for the first time and garnished with authentic three-hundred-year-old furniture, can really be exciting for everyone. Our ancestors were fashion aware and definitely fully belonged to the European cultural circle.
Boxes for hats, parasols with real feathers as well as fans are witness of the fashion of the ladies from Split and Dalmatia, and the men of the time were no worse; at least those such as the nobleman from Trogir, Ivan Luka Garanjina, who could afford a fine short coat for men of French brocade that was well sewn by a tailor – Jew in Venice. Formal men’s boots from the Lukanovic Collection from Sibenik dating from the early 18th century are also proof of the luxury and taste of the time, being decorated with gold embroidery and brocade.
The ambience of the exhibition is supplemented with women’s amber dresses with features of classicism from the first half of the nineteenth century when the “discipline” of the former inevitable corset started to subside; Napoleon once gave a negative comment to this change.
A catalogue in two languages is available so that visitors could take away part of what they had seen. Clothes are the most sensitive impulse of society changes and Split possesses 225 objects that tell the story of the city’s culture in dress wear and shows the cultural, political and anthropologic changes.
Even though the exhibition in Split City Museum that covers the period from the early 18th (Rococo) to the mid-19th century, there are no exhibits of the “first Split trousers but there are the – knickers. According to some new scientific observations, the split women invented underwear, knickers discretely decorated with flounces and down to the knee.
A full wardrobe of such underwear and sleeves (naked arms was very audacious for the women of the time, an erotic detail), gloves, night caps, plastrons, handkerchiefs, corsets and other exhibited in the ambience of a simulated Split gentlemen’s apartment next to a movable wooden toilet decorated with inlays, and the living room with a piano bought in 1860 for Antonjeta Kamber married Rismondo, which she brought with her dowry. Each exhibit is a curiosity but we must emphasize the plastron of Dina Katalinic from around 1880 in which she posed for Vlaho Bukovac, and remained immortalized on the portrait.
Milena Budimir / The Adriatic Times