After the World War II, the Amalfi Coast was discovered by a wider variety of travelers, ranging from well-heeled jetsetters to hitchhiking hippies. This new set of travellers preferred to visit during spring and summer, and the beach - where fishermen for centuries had docked their boats and repaired their nets - was soon overtaken by a hoard of holidaymakers in search of sun, fun, and .... fashion!
From "Rags" to RichesVisitors to Positano today are struck by the same painterly colors and resort atmosphere which drew those first waves of travellers in the 1950s, and which was the inspiration for the comfortable, light clothes which mark the Moda Positano. This interest in casual clothing inspired the seamstresses and tailors of Positano to use hand-dyed lengths of hemp and cotton (the so-called 'pezze' or rags) to create flowing, low cut dresses, lace-fringed skirts, and roomy blouses for ladies to wear over their bathing costumes, and also to design some of Italy's first bikinis, which were often knitted in wool or made from small pieces of cloth adorned with pearls and costume jewelry.
Both men and women discovered how amazingly comfortable the so-called 'fishermen's trousers' could be. These 'pantaloni alla pescatora' are cropped just below the knee and are the perfect attire for climbing up the steep roads of Positano or disembarking from a yacht!
Where Fashion is Anything but FickleThough the painter John Ruskin had described the "brazen" women of Positano as wearing "an oblique handkerchief on the chest, lively in the color, opened bodice, short skirt, and big sandals to the feet" already in 1847, when that very same 'look' was launched in the 1950s, it was as if a brand new fashion had been born.
Fashion may be fickle, but not in Positano - where the 1950s styles (only slightly modernized) are still selling like hot cakes, and where a summer shopping spree in the town's boutiques is an absolute must for every vacationer who passes through.
From Bandanas to Sandals: Head-to-Toe PositanoIn the 1960s, a number of Positano's artisan shoemakers began crafting flat heeled leather sandals with either a single or spider web strap, fueling a fashion which was to spread the whole length of the Amalfi Coast and across the water to the island of Capri. And when style divas, the likes of Jackie Onassis and Brigitte Bardot, started sporting the sandals during their Italian holidays, business boomed!
Fashion in a Flash!The name "Maria Lampo" has acquired legendary status in Positano. Immediately after World War II, Maria and her husband, Alfonso, opened a little shop in the center of the town, outside of which they put a sign: "MADE TO MEASURE TROUSERS". When customers asked how long it would be before their trousers were ready, they were told "just enough time for a leisurely swim!" Indeed, Maria was able to complete a pair of trousers from start to finish in under two hours,earning her the nickname "Maria Lampo" (Maria in a flash). Still today, their shop is the perfect place to pick up beautiful beach wear, from brightly colored bikinis to jazzy "bandanas".