Fustanella (for spelling in various languages, see chart below) is a traditional pleated skirt-like garment that is also referred to as a kilt worn by men of many nations in the Balkans (Southeast Europe). In modern times, the fustanella is part of Balkan folk dresses. In Greece, a short version of the fustanella is worn by ceremonial military units such as the Evzones, while in Albania it was worn by the Royal Guard in the interbellum era. Both Greece and Albania claim the fustanella as a national costume. Additionally Aromanians (Vlachs) claim the fustanella as their ethnic costume.
Some scholars state that the fustanella was derived from a series of ancient Greek garments such as the chiton (or tunic) and the chitonium (or short military tunic). Although the pleated skirt has been linked to an ancient statue (3rd century BC) located in the area around the Acropolis in Athens, there is no surviving ancient Greek clothing that can confirm this connection. However, a 5th-century BC relief statue was discovered in Vari Cave, Attica, by Charles Heald Weller of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens depicting a stonecutter, Archedemus the Nympholept, wearing a fustanella-like garment. The Roman toga may have also influenced the evolution of the fustanella based on statues of Roman emperors wearing knee-length pleated skirts (in colder regions, more folds were added to provide greater warmth). Folklorist Ioanna Papantoniou considers the Celtic kilt, as viewed by the Roman legions, to have served as a prototype. Sir Arthur Evans considered the fustanella of the female peasants (worn over and above the Slavonic apron) living near the modern Bosnian-Montenegrin borders as a preserved Illyrian element among the local Slavic-speaking populations.
In the Byzantine Empire, a pleated skirt known as the podea (Greek: ποδέα) was worn. The wearer of the podea was either associated with a typical hero or an Akritic warrior and can be found in 12th-century finds attributed to Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (r. 1143–1180). On Byzantine pottery sherds, warriors are shown bearing weapons and wearing the heavy pleated fustanella, including a mace-bearer clad in chain-mail.
In his Lexicon of Medieval Latin, Charles du Fresne suggests that fustanum (a piece of cloth) originates from the Roman palla. Cotton fustana was among the belongings of Pope Urban V (1310–1370).
Archaeological evidence shows that the fustanella was already in common use in Greek lands as early as the 12th century. Byzantine warriors, in particular the Akritai, wearing fustanella are depicted in contemporary Byzantine art. This is also confirmed by the Medieval Greek acritic songs of the 12th century. The full-pleated fustanella was worn from the Byzantine Akritic warriors originally as a military outfit and seems to have been reserved for persons of importance. It was frequently worn in conjunction with bows, swords, or battle-axes and frequently shown covered with a jointed corselet, or with a vest of chain mail.
According to another view the fustanella is thought originally to have been a Tosk Albanian costume introduced into Greek territories during the Ottoman period. During the Ottoman period, the fustanella was also worn by the klephts and the armatoloi. Fustanella was a suitable garment for guerrilla mountain units, thus it was worn by the klephts of the Ottoman period for the same reason it was worn by the akritai warriors of the Byzantine era earlier. According to some scholars, it subsequently became part of the national dress of Greece as a consequence of the migration and settlement of Albanians in the region.
In the early 19th century, the costume's popularity rose among the Greek population. During this era of post-independence Greece, parts of Greek society such as townspeople shed their Turkish-style clothing and adopted the fustanella which symbolised solidarity with new Greek democracy. It became difficult thereafter to distinguish the fustanella as clothing worn by male Arvanites from clothing worn by wider parts of Greek society. According to Helen Angelomatis-Tsougarakis, its popularity in the Morea (Peloponnese) was attributed to the influence of the Arvanite community of Hydra and other Albanian-speaking settlements in the area. The Hydriotes however could not have played a significant role in its development since they did not wear the fustanella, but similar costumes to the other Greek islanders. In other regions of Greece the popularity of the fustanella was attributed to the elevation of Albanians as an Ottoman ruling class such as Ali Pasha, the semi-independent ruler of the Pashalik of Yanina. In those areas, its lightweight design and manageability in comparison to the clothing of the Greek upper classes of the era also made it fashionable amongst them in adopting the fustanella.
The fustanella worn by the Roumeliotes (Greeks of the mountainous interior) was the version chosen as the national costume of Greece in the early 19th century. Of the Roumeliotes, the nomadic Greek speaking Sarakatsani pastoralists wore the fustanella. The Aromanians, a Latin speaking people who within Greece also wore the fustanella. During the reign of King Othon I (1832–1862), the fustanella was adopted by the king, the royal court and the military, while it became a service uniform imposed on government officials to wear even when abroad. In terms of geographical spread, the fustanella never became part of the clothing worn in the Aegean islands, whereas in Crete it was associated with the heroes of the Greek War of Independence (1821) in local theatrical productions and seldom as a government uniform. By the late 19th century, the popularity of the fustanella in Greece began to fade when Western-style clothing was introduced.
The fustanella film (or fustanella drama) was a popular genre in the Greek cinema from 1930s to 1960s. This genre emphasized on depictions of rural Greece and was focused on the differences between rural and urban Greece. In general it offered an idealized depiction of the Greek village, where the fustanella was a typical image. In Greece today, the garment is seen a relic of a past era with which most members of the younger generations do not identify.
The Greek fustanella differs from the Albanian fustanella in that the former garment has a higher number of pleats. For example, the "Bridegroom's coat", worn throughout the districts of Attica and Boeotia, was a type of Greek fustanella unique for its 200 pleats; a bride would purchase it as a wedding gift for her groom (if she could afford the garment). A fustanella is worn with a yileki (bolero), a mendani (waistcoat) and a fermeli (sleeveless coat). The selachi (leather belt) with gold or silver embroidery, is worn around the waist over the fustanella, in which the armatoles and the klephts placed their arms.
During the 18th and early 19th centuries, the skirts hung below the knees and the hem of the garment was gathered together with garters while tucked into the boots to create a "bloused" effect. Later, during the Bavarian regency, the skirts were shortened to create a sort of billowy pantaloon that stopped above the knee; this garment was worn with hose, and either buskins or decorative clogs. This is the costume worn by the Evzones, light mountain troops of the Hellenic Army. Today it is still worn by the ceremonial Presidential Guard.
A 14th-century document (1335 AD) listing a series of items including a fustanum (a cloth made of cotton), which were confiscated from a sailor at the port of the Drin River in the Skadar Lake region of Albania. During the Ottoman conquest of Albania in the late 15th century, Albanian Tosks who arrived in southern Italy wore the fustanella which distinguished them from Albanian Ghegs who wore tight breeches. In the 19th century, within the area of contemporary southern Albania and northern Greek Epirus, British traveler John Cam Hobhouse noticed that when traveling from the Greek-speaking area (region south of Delvinaki) into the Albanian-speaking area (to the direction of Gjirokastër and its surrounding environs), apart from different languages a change of clothing occurred. Those Albanian speakers wore the Kamisa shirt and kilt, while Greek speakers wore woolen brogues.
Other British travelers within the region such as Lord Byron celebrated the Albanian costume and described it as "the most magnificent in the world, consisting of long, white kilt, gold-worked cloak, crimson velvet gold laced jacket and waist-coat, silver mounted pistols and daggers". In 1848–1849, British painter Edward Lear traveling within the area of contemporary Albania observed that the fustanella was for Albanians a characteristic national costume. While during the 19th century the use of the fustanella was worn over tight fitting tirq pants amongst male Albanian Ghegs by village groups of the Malësorë or highlanders of the Kelmend, Berisha, Shala and Hoti tribes. They reserved use of the fustanella for elites during important and formal occasions such as dispute resolutions, election of local tribal representatives and allegiance declarations. In the middle of the 19th century, Albanian guerilla fighters abandoned the Turkish pants and begun wearing a kilt similar to the fustanella of the Greek Evzones. During the 1920s, the fustanella began to go out of fashion among Tosks being replaced with Western style clothing made by local tailors.
The Albanian fustanella has around sixty pleats, or usually a moderate number. It is made of heavy home-woven linen cloth. Historically, the skirt was long enough to cover the whole thigh (knee included), leaving only the lower leg exposed. It was usually worn by wealthy Albanians who would also expose an ornamented yataghan on the side and a pair of pistols with long-chiseled silver handles in the belt. The general custom in Albania was to dip the white skirts in melted sheep-fat for the double purpose of making them waterproof and less visible at a distance. Usually, this was done by the men-at-arms (called in Albanian trima). After being removed from the cauldron, the skirts were hung up to dry and then pressed with cold irons so as to create the pleats. They then had a dull gray appearance but were not dirty by any means. The jacket, worn with the fustanella in the Albanian costume, has a free armhole to allow for the passage of the arm, while the sleeves, attached only on the upper part of the shoulders, are thrown back. The sleeves are not usually worn even though the wearer has the option of putting them on. There are three types of footwear that complement the fustanella: 1) the kundra, which are black shoes with a metal buckle, 2) the sholla, which are sandals with leather thongs tied around a few inches above the ankle, 3) the opinga, which is a soft leather shoe, with turned-up points, which, when intended for children, are surmounted with a pompon of black or red wool.
Among the Greek population in southern Albania, a sigouni, a sleeveless coat made of thick white wool, is worn over the fustanella in the regions of Dropull and Tepelenë. In 1914, the newly formed Greek armed forces of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus (1913-1914) consisted of military units wearing Evzone uniforms.
The Aromanians are the Eastern Romance-speaking peoples who live south of the Danube in what are now Serbia, Albania, northern Greece, North Macedonia, and southwestern Bulgaria, as indigenous ethnic groups, known as Megleno-Romanians (Macedoromanians), and Macedo-Vlachs. In Aromanian rural areas, clothes differed from the dress of the city dwellers. The shape and the colour of a garment, the volume of the headgear, the shape of a jewel could indicate cultural affiliation and also could show the village people came from
In the area that is now North Macedonia, the fustanella was worn in the regions of Azot, Babuna, Gevgelija, the southern area of the Great Morava, Ovče Pole, Lake Prespa, Skopska Blatija, and Tikveš. In that area, it is known as fustan, ajta, and toska; possibly because the costume was introduced in the country as a cultural borrowing from the Albanians of Toskëria (subregion of southern Albania).
Status and practicalityEdit
While the image of warriors with frilly skirts tucked into their boots may seem impractical to a contemporary audience, modern paratroopers use a similar method to blouse their trousers over their jumpboots. Lace was commonly worn on military uniforms in the West well into the 19th century, and gold braids and other adornments still serve as markers of high rank in formal military uniforms. Fustanella were very labor-intensive and thus costly, which made them a high status garment that advertised the wealth and importance of the wearer. Western observers of the Greek War of Independence noted the great pride which the klephts and armatoloi took in their fustanella, and how they competed to outdo each other in the sumptuousness of their costume.
The word derives from Italian fustagno 'fustian' and -ella (diminutive), the fabric from which the earliest fustanella were made. This in turn derives from Medieval Latin fūstāneum, perhaps a diminutive form of fustis, "wooden baton". Other authors consider this a calque of Greek xylino (ξύλινο), literally "wooden" i.e. "cotton"; others speculate that it is derived from Fostat, a suburb of Cairo where cloth was manufactured. The Greek plural is foustanelles (Greek: φουστανέλλες) but as with the (semi-correct) foustanellas, it is rarely employed by native English speakers.
Name in various languagesEdit
Native terms for "skirt" and "dress" included for comparison:
Spiridon Louis, Olympic marathon champion (1896).
At the carnival in Venice, painting by Mikhail Scotti.
Arnaut in Cairo, by Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Albanian leader Hamza Kazazi, photographed ca. 1858.
Ilyo Voyvoda was a Bulgarian revolutionary (1867).
Aromanian shepherd in traditional clothes, photo from the early 1900s, Archive: Manachia Brothers.
Guard of honour at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Syntagma Square, Athens, 2006.
- Koço 2004, p. 161
- Kukudēs 2003, p. 16
- Smithsonian Institution and Mouseio Benakē 1959, p. 8: "From the ancient chiton and the common chitonium (short military tunic), fastened by a belt round the waist and falling into narrow regular folds, is derived the fustanella which by extension gives its name to the whole of the costume."
- Fox 1977, p. 56: "The young shepherd wears a fustanella, descendant of the military tunic of ancient Greece, now rarely worn except by certain regiments."
- Skafidas 2009, p. 148.
- Weller 1903, pp. 271–273: "The figure is that of a stonecutter bearing the tools of his craft, the hammer or pick, and the square. The word Archedemus, cut twice in the background before his face (p. 299), seems to be his name. The figure is a little above natural size and is dressed in an exomis...At the waist a transverse groove marks the girdle, below which drop the stiff folds of the fustanella-like skirt to the region of the knees."
- Notopoulos 1964, p. 114.
- Evans 2006, p. 126.
- Notopoulos 1964, pp. 110, 122.
- Kazhdan 1991, "Akritic Imagery", p. 47: "While 35 plates have the warrior wearing the podea or pleated skirt (sometimes called a fustanella) attributed to Manuel I, the "new Akrites," in a Ptochoprodromic poem, and 26 have him slaying a dragon, neither iconographic element is sufficient to identify the hero specifically as Digenes because both the skirt and the deed characterize other akritai named in the Akritic Songs."
- Morgan 1942, pp. 133, 317–318, 333.
- du Fresne 1678, p. 563, "Fustanum".
- Bulletin Archéologique du Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques, p. 284: L'Inventaire d'Urbain V (1310–1370), en 1369, enregistre "unum matalacium de fustana alba, cotonno munitum".
- Morgan 1942, pp. 132–133: "Most of these men are warriors with long curling locks falling down their backs, clad in pleated tunics or chain mail with short pointed caps on their heads. They wield swords, and protect themselves with shields, either round or shaped like a pointed oval...The mace-bearer of No. 1275 is clad in chain mail with a heavy pleated fustanella worn about his hips. The importance of this latter piece is very considerable, for the details of the costume, often shown on Incised-Sgraffito figures, are very clear, and make it certain that the fustanella exists as an independent garment and is not an elaboration of the lower part of a tunic. It is consequently demonstrable that this characteristic garment of latter-day Greece was in common use as early as the twelfth century in Greek lands."
- Notopoulos 1964, p. 110: "These lines are triply valuable for they tell us (1) the early popularity of Akritas; (2) the existence of the source of the Grottaferrata by the twelfth century; (3) that Digenes wears kilts which appear in the Byzantine plates as the fustanella, the key for the identification of the warriors in the plates."
- Notopoulos 1964, p. 113: "We can dispose of any lingering doubts as to the identification of the hero with Akritas rather than St. George or Alexander by considering one important piece of evidence that has not been exploited before, namely, the fustanella, the pleated kilt worn by the dragon slayers and by many other figures in the Byzantine plates. We have already seen that the twelfth century poet Prodromos describes Digenes as wearing kilts, a detail which is also mentioned in the Grottaferrata version. The Byzantine plates corroborate this key detail in the identification. Thirty-five plates show such warriors wearing the fustanella. Of these at least eight plates, on which the identification with Digenes rests, show a warrior slaying a dragon."
- Notopolous 1964, pp. 114: "They are not clad in armor, nor in helmets. They wear a cap, a cloth doublet, and their pleated kilt is unmistakably different from that of the other class of warriors. Their kilt resembles the klepht fustanella; it is longer, more flared, fluid, and ornamented with decorative stripes, horizontal or vertical. It is this difference in kilts that distinguishes the warriors in the Byzantine plates from the imperial forces depicted in other manifestations of Byzantine art. The kilts in our plates belong to the akrites, whose garb is required by their way of life and the guerrilla type of warfare described in the Byzantine military treatise."
- Skafidas 2009, pp. 146–147.
- Verinis 2005, pp. 139–175: "Thought originally to have been a southern Albanian outfit worn by men of the Tosk ethnicity and introduced into more Greek territories during the Ottoman occupation of previous centuries, the "clean petticoat" of the foustanéla ensemble was a term of reproach used by brigands well before laografia (laographía, folklore) and disuse made it the national costume of Greece and consequently made light of variations based on region, time period, class or ethnicity."
- Forster 1960, p. 245.
- Wolff 1974, p. 31.
- Tzanelli, Rodanthi (2008). Nation-Building and Identity in Europe: The Dialogics of Reciprocity. PALGRAVE MACMILLAN. pp. 78–80. ISBN 0-230-55199-8.
- Maxwell 2014, pp. 170–171: "The foustanela, like the Scottish kilt or Lady Llanover's Cambrian Costumes, provides ample material for authenticity—fabrication debates, not least because its origins apparently lie in Albania. During the Greek independence war, however, its Greek connotations became so powerful that foreign Philhellenes adopted it to show their sympathy for the Greek cause. Henry Bradfield, a surgeon who served in Greece, observed one English gentleman who tried to make a foustanela from a sheet. Philhellene enthusiasm for the foustanela survived knowledge of its Albanian origins; Philhellene William Whitcombe described the foustanela as a light Albanian kilt" in his 1828 memoirs."
- Ethniko Historiko Mouseio (Greece), Maria Lada-Minōtou, I. K. Mazarakēs Ainian, Diana Gangadē, and Historikē kai Ethnologikē Hetaireia tēs Hellados 1993, p. xxx.
- Notopoulos 1964, pp. 113–115: "A comparison of the fustanella warriors on the Byzantine plates with the klephts of the Greek Revolution of 1821–30, shown in the primitive paintings of Makriyiannes, shows that we are dealing in both instances with a garment which is peculiarly suited to a fast, mobile guerrilla mountain type of warrior...This kind of warfare, also described in the Akritan ballads, called for a fast mobile guerrilla type of soldier. What kind of dress is suitable for this kind of warfare? Nothing better than the fustanella worn by the Akritan warriors in the Byzantine plates."
- Bialor 2008, pp. 67–68 (Note #4): "Also, Albanians, Arvanito-Vlachs, and Vlachs, from the fourteenth until the nineteenth centuries, had settled major areas of Northwestern and Central Greece, the Peloponessos and some of the Saronic and Cycladic islands. Though usually remaining linguistically distinct, they participated "as Greeks" in the War of Independence and in the further development of the new nation. As a consequence of extensive Albanian settlement, the Greek national dress up until the twentieth century was the Albania foustanella (pleated skirt) with pom-pommed curved shoes called tsarouchia."
- St. Clair 1972, p. 232: "Gradually, more and more Greeks found ways of getting themselves on the Government's pay roll. The money was never accounted for in detail. A captain would simply contract to provide a number of armed men and draw pay for that number. Again, the opportunities for embesslement were eagerly seized. Anyone who could muster any pretensions to a military status appreared in Nauplia demanding pay. It was probably at this time that the Albanian dress made its decisive step towards being regarded as the national dress of Greece. The Government party, being largely Albanians themselves, favoured the dress and a version of it was common among the Greek klephts and armatoli. Now it seemed that anyone who donned an Albanian dress could claim to be a soldier and share in the bonanza."
- Skafidas 2009, p. 148: "The modern fustanella appears in Greece worn by Albanians, and especially the Arvanites, as Greeks of Albanian ancestry were called, most of whom fought alongside the Greeks against the Turks in the long war of independence."
- Angelomatis-Tsougarakis 1990, p. 106: "On the other hand, Albanian dress was daily becoming more fashionable among the other nationalities. The fashion in the Morea was attributed to the influence of Ydra, an old Albanian colony, and to the other Albanian settlements in the Peloponesse. Ydra, however, could not have played a significant part in the development since its inhabitants did not wear the Albanian kilt but the clothes common to other islanders. In the rest of Greece it was the steadily rising power of Ali Pasha that made the Albanians a kind of ruling class to be imitated by others. The fact that the Albanians dress was lighter and more manageable than the dress the Greek upper classes used to wear also helped in spreading the fashion. It was not unusual even for the Turks to have their children dressed in Albanian costume, although it would have been demeaning for them to do so themselves."
- Gerolymatos 2003, p. 90: "Greek fashion in the nineteenth century saw men dressed in the Albanian kilt while women followed the Muslim tradition of covering themselves up, including the face and eyes."
- Welters 1995, pp. 59: "According to old travel books, the nineteenth-century traveler could readily identify Greek-Albanian peasants by their dress. The people and their garb, labeled as "Albanian", were frequently described in contemporary written accounts or depicted in watercolours and engravings. The main components of dress associated with Greek-Albanian… men an outfit with a short full skirt known as the foustanella."; p. 59–61. "Identifying the Greek-Albanian man by his clothing was more difficult after the Greek war of Independence, for the so-called "Albanian costume" became what has been identified as the "true" national dress on the mainland of Greece. In admiration for the heroic deeds of the Independence fighters, many of whom were Arvanites, a fancy version of the foustanella was adopted by diplomats and philihellenes for town wear."; pp. 75–76. "The townspeople who gave up their Turkish-style clothing after Greece attained its independence communicated solidarity with the new Greek democracy by wearing foustanella. This was clear example of national dress. At the same time, those who dwelled in villages and on mountainsides kept their traditional clothing forms, specifically the sigouni and the chemise."
- Beller & Leerssen 2007, p. 168: "The Aegean, the Peloponnese and the Roumeliotes of the mountainous interior each claimed precedence based on their records of trials and exploits during the War of Independence. The political muscle of the latter ensured that their traditional dress (fustanella) was chosen as the national costume; it has remained a universal emblem of Greekness."
- Welters 1995, p. 70: "The name Roumeliotes was applied to the Sarakatsani because centuries ago they returned to mainland Greece to pasture their sheep every summer (Koster and Koster 1976: 280)."; p. 63. "Sarakatsani men were not as uniform in their attire as Sarakatsani women. The men wore outfits made from handwoven wool with either trousers (panovraki) or foustanella skirts depending on the local tradition (Papantoniou 1981:11)."; p. 67. "Papantoniou associates two types of male garments with the Vlachs, the white trousers (of the type seen in Fig. 3.4) and the homemade foustanella (Papantoniou 1981: 11, 41). It should be remembered that both trousers and foustanella were also worn by Sarakatsani men."
- Maxwell 2014, pp. 172: "Othon apparently arrived in Greece wearing a Bavarian military uniform, but soon adopted the foustanela (see Figure 8.1) not only for official portraits, but in daily life. Courtier Hermann Hettner wrote that the King habitually received guests in "the Greek national costume, resplendent in silver and gold." Othon dressed his court in foustanela as early as 1832; queen Amalia also dressed her ladies-in-waiting in analogous Greek costumes. The costume seems to have genuinely pleased Othon: after being forced from power in 1862, he continued to wear it in his German retirement. Othon also made the foustanela a service uniform by imposing it on government officials… Government officials also wore the foustanela abroad, which occasionally led to embarassment [sic]... Othon showed less enthusiasm for the foustanela as a military uniform. He initially intended to use Bavarian-style uniforms in his army, but backed down when threatened with mass resignations and the resultant banditry."
- Skafidas 2009, p. 150.
- Maxwell 2014, pp. 176: " By the end of the nineteenth century, the foustanela was no longer an everyday costume. Civilians wore what James Verinis dubbed the "town foustantela" [astiki enthimasia fóustanela] only on special occasions. On the Aegean Islands, where it had never been part of peasant dress, the foustanela appeared even more ceremonial. At the turn of the century, Harriet Boyd Hawes, a British archaeologist in Crete, reported that Locals had seen the foustanela "if at all, only in patriotic plays representing heroes of the Revolution of '21." Hawes also found that when she dressed her Greek assistant in one, he could overawe Local villagers who mistook it for a government uniform."
- Karalis, Vrasidas. History of Greek Cinema. A&C Black. p. 23. ISBN 9781441194473.
- Psaras, Marios. The Queer Greek Weird Wave: Ethics, Politics and the Crisis of Meaning. Springer. p. 105. ISBN 9783319403106.
- Skafidas 2009, pp. 150–151.
- Smithsonian Institution and Mouseio Benakē 1959, p. 31; Fox 1977, p. 56.
- Smithsonian Institution and Mouseio Benakē 1959, p. 8: "The yileki (bolero), the mendani (waistcoat) and the fermeli (sleeveless coat) which are worn with the fustanella, and their mode of decoration, are reminiscent of the ornamented breastplates of ancient times. The selachi (leather belt) with its gold or silver embroidery, worn round the waist over the fustanella, and in whose pouches the armed chieftains, the Armatoli and Klephts of the War of Independence placed their arms, recalls the ancient girdle; 'gird thyself' meant 'arm thyself' (Homer, Iliad)."
- Gjergji 2004, p. 16: "Among the most important documents is one of the year 1335, which relates how at the port of Drin, near Shkodra, a sailor was robbed of the following items: (ei guarnacionem, tunicam, mantellum, maçam, de ferro, fustanum, camisiam abstulerunt). This is the earliest known evidence in which the "fustan" (kilt) is mentioned as an item of clothing along with the shirt."
- Nasse 1964, p. 38: "The Albanian soldier who arrived in southern Italy during the days of Scanderbeg wore a distinctive costume; if he was a "Gheg" (northern Albanian), he wore rather tight breeches and a waistcoat; if he was a "Tosk" (southern Albanian), he wore a "fustanella" (a white pleated skirt) and a waistcoat."
- De Rapper 2005, pp. 182–183: "By the beginning of the nineteenth century and later on, the British, French and Austrian travellers who visited Lunxhëri, most of them arriving from Ioannina, described the Lunxhots as Albanian-speaking Orthodox Christians, and had the feeling that, starting north of Delvinaki, they were entering another country, although the political border did not exist at the time. Greek was not spoken as it was further south; there was a change in the way of life and manners of the peasants. As one traveller reported Hobhouse 1813: Every appearance announced to us that we were now in a more populous country. (...) the plain was every where cultivated, and not only on the side of Argyro-castro [Gjirokastër]... but also on the hills which we were traversing, many villages were to be seen. The dress of the peasants was now changed from the loose woollen brogues of the Greeks, to the cotton kamisa, or kilt of the Albanian, and in saluting Vasilly they no longer spoke Greek."
- Athanassoglou-Kallmyer 1983, pp. 487–488: "Delacroix's fascination with the near east in the 1820s, in part as a result of his interest in the Greek War of Independence, accounts for a number of studies of oriental costumes, among which the best known are perhaps his oil sketches representing dancing Suliots (Fig.38). A water-colour of Two Albanians, in a private collection in Athens, can now be related to this group of works (Fig.34). Two chieftains are shown within a landscape that recedes towards a low, distant horizon. The man on the left poses in rather stiff contrapposto. His companion sits cross-legged, Oriental style. The standing man wears the white kilt, and embroidered vest and sash typical of Albanian dress...As opposed to the rather general handling of the setting, the figures are depicted with great specificity. Delacroix must have intended the latter to serve as mementoes, as records of ethnic types and dress, part of the process of collecting Orientalist visual imagery in which he was engaged in the 1820s. His enthusiasm at the lush beauty of the Albanian costume must have matched that of his favourite poet at the time, Byron. In a letter to his mother from Epirus dated 12 November 1809, Byron had marvelled at 'the Albanians, in their dresses, (the most magnificent in the world, consisting of long, white kilt, gold-worked cloak, crimson velvet gold laced jacket and waist-coat, silver mounted pistols and daggers)...he admitted to having succumbed to the temptation and acquired some of these 'magnificent Albanian dresses...They cost fifty guineas each, and have so much gold, they would cost in England two hundred'."
- Koço 2015, p. 17: "The closely observing eye of the painter Edward Lear, in his travels around Albania in 1848 and 1849, depicted the fustanella as a typical national costume of the Albanians."
- Blumi 2004, p. 167: "While quite popular among those who depicted Malesorë life in paintings, the use of the foustanella among Ghegs was basically reserved for formal occasions; it was worn by groups in the Kelmendi, Hoti, Shala and Berisha village groups. On such important occasions such as declarations of allegiance, the settlement of disputes and the election of paramount representatives, elite males would adopt these long white garments and wear their tirq underneath. The foustanella became famous once King Otto of Greece declared it the national dress of independent Greece, probably due to the fact his largely Albanian speaking army wore it."
- Snodgrass 2014, p. 209: "Albanian rebels abandoned Turkish pants for the foustanella, a short kilt similar to those worn by Greek security guards."
- Tomes 2011, p. 44.
- Konitza 1957, pp. 85–86.
- Konitza 1957, p. 67.
- Lada-Minōtou, Maria (1993). Greek Costumes: Collection of the National Historical Museum. Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece. p. xxvii.
There are, however, examples where the sigouni is worn over a pleated skirt of the foustanela type, as at Dropoli and Tepeleni in Northern Epirus
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