This embroidered jacket belonged to my great grandmother who was born in Greece during the late 1800’s. She wore it for her wedding and other special occasions like Christmas or Easter. This style of Jacket is called “stolli Amalia” or the costume of Amalia. After the Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832, the Greeks couldn’t decide on a prime minister, so the foreign governments, who helped Greece win independence, sent the Bavarian prince Otto to act as King of Greece. Amalia, Otto’s wife who was also foreign, tried to dress like the Greek people in an effort to make herself more likeable. She took elements from various Greek costumes and made the “stoli Amalia.”
My great-grandmother grew up in the Greek town of Mandra and met my great grandfather through a matchmaker that came to town. The first time the matchmaker came my great grandmother actually refused my great grandfather because she thought he was below her social status, but was eventually convinced by her brothers who thought he would provide economic stability. When they married my great grandmother wore this jacket and, despite unromantic beginnings, they lived happily together in Greece where my great grandfather owned a factory until it was bombed during World War II.
– Daisy Barbanel