Saturday, June 16, 2012

Real Pirates

This morning I was paying my daily visit to  'Stamos Kilts, a Brazilian blog devoted to kilts and men-skirts, (as well as cool retro styles such as Gothic and Victorian fashions). 

Its author, professor Rommel Werneck, himself a proud kilt-wearer, posted these pics of a kilted "pirate costume", which arose my curiosity. 


Could this be true? 
Did manly pirates and buccaneers of yore actually wear beautiful pleated "un-bifurcated" garments such as these?

As it turned out from my brief research... they actually did! 
I came across some etchings depicting the first production of Gilbert and Sullivan's catchy-tune operetta The Pirates of Pensance, which was successfully  premiered simultaneously in New York and London in 1879. 

It so happens that all the singing pirates appear, not even in kilts, but in gorgeous fustanella-like skirts!




In all events, G&S were closer in time to the real-life legendary pirates who razed the Caribbean coast 'till the mid-XIX Century: I guess their sea robbers are more accurate than the ones featuring in more recent portrayals, such as the dazzling mascara-wearing pirates presented by the Disney film crew.

The musical buccaneers kept their skirts for the following stagings of the show.
At some point, alas, they lost them: Modern stagings of G&S Pirates show them in trousers.

These photographs come from authentic D'Oly Carte productions of the work, during the early 1920's:










 Rounding up: the Disney producers should consider dressing Johnny Depp in a skirt for his next outing as  Jack Sparrow. 
That, of course, in addition to his earrings, long hair and eye-makeup. 
What comes next? High heels?

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