Gloves: All kinds of them
The Glove is an ancient garment and an accessory with a long history.
It is believed that already in Homer’s The Odyssey there might be references to their predominantly practical uses, as a way to protect the hands against the cold and thorns and other manual labour.
For the Egyptians gloves had a symbolic and liturgical value, as it can be seen from the archaeological finds recovered from the graves.
The men wore them as a mark of their prestige and a pair of them was even found in Tutankhamon’s tomb.
It would appear as though in actual fact, the barbarian tribes were responsible for the diffusion of this garment, which began to be widely used from the VI century.
In medieval times gloves symbolised nobility and chivalry. During the times of the duels, “to throw down the gauntlet“ (or glove) indicated the intention to issue a challenge to a rival, who would most likely accept by picking it up in order to protect their honour.
In Italy, during the Renaissance, gloves started to appear finely embroidered and decorated with metal ornaments, occasionally gold or silver, and with ring slits.
Often scented, the story tells of Caterina de Medici being able to murder the Queen of Navarra by soaking her gloves with a poppy based lethal concoction.
Over time gloves began to loose their status as symbols of class and prestige, but still managed to retain their elegance and charm.
During the 1940’s, Rita Hayworth explodes into the limelight with all her beauty and glamour in the most memorable scene from the movie “Gilda” where she slowly removes her long black glove.
In much the same way, Marilyn Monroe drives men crazy, all over the world , in the movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, wearing a pink satin gown, with matching gloves, strictly long and extremely sexy.
With “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” instead , Audrey Hepburn became the queen of refined elegance in a black satin evening gown, with a pearl necklace and- of course- long black satin gloves.
Still today, gloves can be a purely aesthetic symbol of elegance and vanity and the use of different materials and shapes characterises their status.
On the catwalks it is possible to see all kinds of different models and colours, presented with every collection with character and glamour, and various styles going from the elegant to the seductive to the sporty, dynamic and just practical.
Designers such as Dior, Versace, Saint Laurence, Kenzo and Lacroix have managed to free the long gloves from the red carpet, to which they were previously relegated to, in order to re-introduce them into the ready-to-wear clothing lines, to be worn in the office as well as the city.
Gloves went from functional garments, to symbols of elegance and nobility and they have now made a big come back, not longer being a complementary item, but an essential garment in every wardrobe.