COSTUMES FROM EPIRUS
The costume of Dropolis was worn in the region of Dryinoupolis-Dropolis,
in the villages of the flat lands surrounding Argyrokastro. This area
has close relations with the region of Pogoni, thus explaining many of
the similarities noticeable in the costumes, with as principal
characteristic the white segouni and all the basic features of
the Greek costume. Throughout this geographical area, such as in
Lidzouria, Zagora, Delvino, Tepeleni and Premeti, are maintained the
manners, habits and traditional customs which demonstrate an interrupted
course of Greek heritage.
The women of Dropolis like those of Hassia and other regions tattooed a
cross on their forehead as a protection against Moslem dervishes.
The costume, either everyday or festival or bridal wear, consisted of
the white cotton, or a silk chemise, skirt, a substitute for the usual
dickey, bib or a white summer mantel, sleeveless vest, an apron, wool
belt, a golden belt, knitted white stockings. To the headdress belong a
red, velvet fez, silk veil, crepe kerchief, a white band tied to the
head and a white cotton kerchief. The ornaments of the costume are small
silver clasps, cross, silver plated buckle, chains for the chest,
earrings, rings and bracelets.
These costumes are still worn by the villagers and they represent
significant stages of their life.
An old Epirot market town, Konitsa was renowned throughout the area for
the commercial activities of its inhabitants. Many of them emigrated,
bringing back money on their return as well as more modern life-styles.
Quite early the women began to cover their traditional blouses with
long bourgeois style dresses, but retained their typical Epirot
sigounia and flokates.
A sleeveless woven wool pinafore dress, gathered at the waist and
embroidered round the hem, was worn as a petticoat for extra warmth.
The material for the main dress, which was sewn by tailors, was
generally oriental silk, but it could be a fine bought woolen cloth
or cotton-silk mixture with stripes, and later velvet. The bodice,
cuffs and hem were also trimmed with velvet bands. The sigouni
was stitched and embroidered in red and gold by local tailors. The
apron is made of silk, with colorful silk decoration. One or two rows
of gold coins adorned the bodice. They tied a dark-colored silk or
woolen scarf with a crocheted trim around the head. On chilly days,
the women wore a floukata, which was sewn from a thick black
woven cloth and likewise embroidered by a tailor, using strips of red
felt and silk ribbons.
Dora Stratou Theater
Metsovo was inhabited by Vlachs, who originated from an area known
to us today as Romania. The Vlachs were a nomadic tribe, that
moved slowly to the south. Upon reaching the Metsovo area, they
ceased their wandering and decided to settle there.
The costume shown here is similar to the costumes worn in the
Zagori and Konitsa regions of Epirus and was also worn as a
bridal costume or on other special occasions. The costume
consists of a long dress made of oriental silk. Rich velvet
fabric is cut out in a floral-like pattern and applied to the hem
of the dress, revealing the silk fabric beneath it. This western
style of dress included a dark-colored apron, hand-embroidered
with colored silk thread along the bottom hem line. The overcoat,
the flokata, unlike its western counterpart, was
originally patterned after a "villager's" overcoat. In present
day, it is narrower and of a more elegant design, truly
complementing the dress beneath it. The woman's hair is braided
and covered with a silk scarf, originally tied at the back. Today
the scarf is tied over the head. A silver filigree belt is worn
around the waist. Rows of gold coins adorn the bosom. Hand-knit,
white, wool stockings and flat-laced shoes of black leather are
The region of Pogoni is spread over valleys and plateaus in the
northern part of Epiros, beyond ancient Dodoni, extending as far
an imaginary line separating it from the villages of Dropoli. The
infertile cornfields and vineyards obliged the men of the area to
seek their fortune elsewhere, some finding work and others left
to their own devices, the women worked the fields and vineyards.
The same outfit, with one or two variations, was worn in thirty
villages. The costume of Pogoni is composed of the following
pieces: the undershirt, chemise, a good coat made of wool from
Constantinople or an everyday one, jacket, the pesili of
the bride, extra sleeves, belt, mantel with the sleeves, apron,
kerchief for the waist of the bride, stockings, knee socks,
shoes. The everyday and festival headdress is the obola.
The bridal headdress consists of a silk kerchief or red fez, silk
tassels, added hair, a white, silk kerchief, a fine red kerchief.
Rich ornaments complete the headdress: an ornament of the
forehead, earrings, silver ornaments for the top of the head and
chains with coins. Ornaments of the costume are buttons, a chest
ornament, buckle, dickey, bracelets and rings.
Dora Stratou Theater
The villages of Zagori that cling to the sides of Mount Pindos,
and to which access was difficult to prevent invasion, developed
undisturbed a high standard of living during the difficult years
of Turkish occupation, when the inhabitants of the towns and
plains were suffering considerable hardship. According to the
earliest information available regarding their costume, it was a
bourgeois style, originally oriental but later western in
character. It was worn in 46 villages with some variations.
The flokata, the sleeveless overdress of the sigouni
type is the only traditional feature of the costume. The other
components of the dress have been influenced by the fashion
prevailing at the end of the 19th century. Made of thick woolen
fabric, the flokata was ornamented with red ribbons,
panels of red felt and embroidered patterns of red twisted cord.
The two rectangular panels of red felt at the sides of the
overdress are called spatela. The black apron is
embroidered with bright flowers and the edge with knitted black
lace on the hem. The jewelry is an ornamental belt-buckle. A
black printed head-kerchief is tied in a special manner, known as
In 1991, Paul Ginis traveled to the island of Tilos to conduct his
research. Mr. Ginis observed the women still wearing this
costume, signing their traditional songs and dancing their