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Costumes of Macedonia … Guest Blogger – Penny Peters

December 17, 2011

costume from Debar Drimkol, Macedonia

On a recent trip through the Balkan countries, we had the opportunity to see traditional village costumes on display at the Museum of Macedonia located in its capital city Skopje.  These costumes were excellent representatives of the rich village culture that existed in the early 20th Century.

Wedding costumes are the most elaborate, so I believe most of those I photographed were wedding or celebration costumes.  They were certainly not worn everyday…only for celebrations after they were worn initially as wedding costumes.

Costume bodice

Each little village had its own conventions for decorating the costumes with embroidery and metalwork, and the variety of motifs and types of decoration was quite amazing.  The only disappointment was that the costumes were displayed behind heavy plate glass, so stitch details were difficult to see clearly.

Pocket detail

A few days later we were able to pay an impromptu visit to a small private costume collection in the village of Podmocani near Lake Prespa, and we were greatly pleased to be able to photograph and touch the many wonderful folk costumes.

They had been collected over a 30 year period by a costume enthusiast and were displayed beautifully.

detail of a sleeve

closeup bottom of sleeve

back of sleeve detail


Ethnographic museum where costume is displayed

Owner of Ethnographic Museum Jone Eftimovski published a book about his collection. It is titled Macedonian Folk Costumes ISBN 9989 - 785 - 50 - 3

Check  link for more information about Macedonian Costume

9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2011 1:25 pm

    All those French knots! And baubles, bangles and beads! Were these wedding outfits or…?

    • December 18, 2011 5:47 am

      Hi Margaret,
      I just added more information about the garments after speaking with Penny. They were either wedding costumes or they were used for special occasions. Gail

  2. Judith Noble permalink
    December 17, 2011 4:09 pm

    The Henry Art Gallery houses the Margaret Nord collection and the Blanche Payne collection. These textiles can be studied by appointment. Blanche Payne’s papers are at the U of W library. Her interest in the folk textiles of, then, Yugoslavia, resulted in a wonderful collection from many villages as well as significant writings. These are glorious textiles!

  3. BJ Arnold permalink
    December 17, 2011 5:05 pm

    I appreciate you sharing these lovely pieces… especially the close up..
    Thanks Penny……….BJ

  4. ramona permalink
    December 17, 2011 7:28 pm

    is there a way to get a copy of the owner’s book about his collection?

    • December 18, 2011 5:50 am

      Hi Ramona,
      we are trying to get the title for you. We have temporarily misplaced the book. But here it is, as Marie Plakos has just sent it to me. Owner of the Museum is Jone Eftimovski. His book title is Macedonian Folk Costumes ISBN 9989-785-50-3 Gail

  5. Carol Burrows permalink
    December 18, 2011 1:21 am

    Thanks for sharing such detailed pictures. The massive amounts of beadwork is impressive. It looks like there was a good source for such a variety of beads. Do you know where they came from, what they were attached with, materials they were made from? What were the fabrics that were so transparent? It must be fun to wear such garments and such finery.

  6. Barbara Fox permalink
    December 18, 2011 8:41 pm

    So interesting to be able to see these ornate garments. Especially loved the beadwork–some interesting sizes and shapes. Thank you for sharing images from your travels Penny.

  7. Nancy Piepenbring permalink
    December 21, 2011 8:29 pm

    The combination of texture and pattern in these garments creates such rich and interesting designs. I am always amazed to see such beautiful, detailed work created in less than perfect work environments. I’m sure there is much meaning in the designs and the placement of certain elements- a good place to begin a new area of study.

    Thanks so much for the inspiration.

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